Why It Will Be Tougher Getting into UC Berkeley

Out here on the West Coast, I know parents who believe that their children will be condemned to mediocre lives if the University of California, Berkeley, doesn’t send them an acceptance letter.

Okay, it might not be that bad, but plenty of parents and teens believe that getting into UC Berkeley is the ultimate academic achievement  for a teenager. Unfortunately, I have  bad news for all those parents:  it’s going to get even harder for teenagers to finagle their way into Cal Berkeley.

As anyone in California knows, the UC system is in a crisis. Government support has shrunk alarmingly over the years. The state used to provide 70% of Berkeley’s budget and now it’s down to 25%.

Something has to give. Because UC Berkeley can’t raise tuition as much as it would like, Cal is going to accept more out-of-state and international students, who pay a heck of a lot more.  About 11% of students from this year’s entering class aren’t from California and they are paying tuition and fees of $32,400 versus $9,750 for kids who live here.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau isn’t happy admitting more non-Californians and it seems like he’s hoping parents and students revolt. “Actually, I hope for some push back,” he told reporters. “This is connected to the state’s failure to pay for the University of California.”

I’d suggest that it’s more important than ever that students, who are hoping to go Cal Berkeley, possess a back up plan.

Further posts on the University of California:

Public University Bargains for Affluent Students.

What’s Wrong with the University of California?

University of California Admission Changes

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and the college blogger for CBSMoneyWatch.com.

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  1. UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Credibility, Trust
    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the “innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge” the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.