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UC Berkeley has been ordered to accept at least 3,000 fewer students for the next academic year

BEREKELEY, Calif. — The California Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the University of California, Berkeley to freeze undergraduate enrollment at the 2020-21 levels, meaning it will have to accept at least 3,000 fewer students than expected for the next academic year.

Thursday’s decision is the result of a legal battle with a residents’ group called Save Berkeley Neighborhoods that sued the university for failing to address the effect of increased student enrollment on housing, roaming, traffic and noise.

RELATED: Judge orders UC Berkeley to freeze student enrollment due to impact on neighborhoods

In August, an Alameda County Superior Court sided with Berkeley residents, suspending a housing and classroom construction project, and ordered the campus to cap enrollment at its 2020-2021 level. of just over 42,000 students.

The school has sent letters to applicants saying it should cut undergraduate enrollment by at least 3,000 students, causing panic among prospective students and their families.
An appeals court last month denied UC’s request to lift the enrollment freeze while the case continues. The decision prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to file a friend of the court brief asking the California Supreme Court to freeze the enrollment cap, saying in a statement that a lawsuit should not “hinder education and dreams of thousands of students who are our future leaders and innovators.”

Statement for UC Berkeley:

We are extremely discouraged by today’s decision from the California Supreme Court, which leaves intact a lower court order that will reduce and then freeze enrollment at 2020-2021 levels and prevent thousands of students who would be offered in-person admission to the university. of California, Berkeley, this fall after receiving this offer.

This is devastating news for the thousands of students who have worked so hard and secured a spot in our Fall 2022 class. Our fight on behalf of each of these students continues.

State Senator Scott Wiener responded on Twitter, saying it’s tragic that California allows courts and environmental laws to determine how many students UC is allowed to educate. He has a bill to streamline the approval of college housing projects.

Ask for legislative relief
Looking ahead, we are working with state leaders to identify possible legislative solutions that could address the significant impacts of the lower court’s decision on enrollment decisions at UC Berkeley and other campuses. We know that access and opportunity for prospective UC students remains a priority not only for the university but also for state policymakers, as evidenced by the recent state budget proposal for the enrollment in UC.

Strategies to allow UC Berkeley to admit freshman and transfer candidates are not ideal
At the same time, we are preparing to implement the mandatory reduction of registrations in case there is no timely solution. Our implementation strategies will focus on mitigating harm to prospective students, primarily by increasing online enrollment and/or asking new incoming students to delay enrollment until January 2023. While these strategies will allow UC Berkeley to make available as many enrollment spaces as possible, the lower court order leaves us with options that are less than ideal. We will also prioritize California residents for in-person undergraduate enrollment in the fall, along with our commitment to transferring students

We are a residential university and would like all students to have a full and rich in-person experience beginning in the fall when all of their classmates enroll. However, we believe this effort is preferable to drastically reducing the number of admissions offers and denying so many students an education at Berkeley. We’ve designed this strategy so that if the Legislature brings relief very soon, we can move on to doing more in-person offerings for the fall.

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