UC Berkeley Warns It May Have To Cut Admissions By Thousands Due To Court Ruling

The University of California, Berkeley, may have to cut down its incoming freshman class by almost one-third, or by over 3,000 seats, after a court ruling limited its expansion of enrollment.

In a news release Monday, the university said it had appealed to the California Supreme Court, hoping to stay a lower court decision limiting its enrollment so that it could send out acceptance letters next month for freshmen who would start college in fall 2022.

“If left intact, the court’s unprecedented decision would have a devastating impact on prospective students, university admissions, campus operations, and UC Berkeley’s ability to serve California students,” the university said Monday, estimating that it would have to send out over 5,000 fewer admissions offers this spring to limit enrollment numbers.

Last week, the California 1st District Court of Appeal denied the university’s request to stay an August ruling that had ordered a freeze on enrollment at the school’s 2020-2021 levels, which is about 42,000 graduate and undergraduate students.

These rulings come after Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, a local community group, sued the school over its expansion plans, arguing that enrolling more UC Berkeley students would result in a higher impact on housing prices and other environmental issues.

UC Berkeley contended that limiting its enrollment to 2020-21 levels would be “a tragic outcome for thousands of students who have worked incredibly hard to gain admission to Berkeley,” noting that enrollment in 2020 was “abnormally low” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university also warned of the “serious financial consequences” of lowering enrollment, estimating losses at $57 million in tuition, which could affect how much financial aid and other “critical student services” it provides the students who do enroll.

The university is hoping the California Supreme Court will stay the lower court ruling in time for the school to send out admissions offers on March 24.

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