University of California, Berkeley's freshman acceptance rate for fall 2014 plunged 3.5 percentage points amid changes to its admission process, including a greater emphasis on admitting out-of-state students.
Preliminary University of California admission data released Friday showed Berkeley's acceptance rate falling to 17.3 percent, from 20.8 percent in 2013, with more than 1,300 fewer students admitted to the campus this year despite a huge increase to a record 73,771 applications.
The overall acceptance rate across the UC system also fell, to 58.4 percent this year from 59.2 percent in 2013, though California admits increased slightly to 61.2 percent. UC admitted 86,865 students, about 4,000 more than last year.
Latino students made significant gains, increasing to 28.8 percent of the admitted student population and surpassing white students to become the second largest ethnic group of UC admits, behind Asian Americans.
University of California, Los Angeles, which has been the most selective UC campus for the last several years, dipped nearly two percentage points to 18.2 percent admission. This appears to be the first time that UC Berkeley and UCLA admissions have fallen below 20 percent.
University of California, Davis acceptance ticked up to 40.6 percent, from 39.4 percent in 2013, with a large increase in the number of out-of-state and international students admitted.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks wrote a letter to the campus community Friday morning to address the huge decline in its acceptance rate, which saw more than 800 fewer California students admitted to the flagship UC campus this year.
"We actually anticipate enrolling at least 50 more in-state freshmen than we did in 2013," he said. "The discrepancy is simply a reflection of changes in our admissions and enrollment process."
In the past, the university admitted more students in the spring and wound up with more commitments to attend than it was prepared for, Dirks said.
Under a new process, Berkeley will initially accept a smaller number of students, designed to generate commitments at a lower level than its enrollment target. It will then fill the rest of its freshman class from an expanded waiting list -- a move that Dirks said is in line with best practices at other select universities, including most other UC campuses.
Dirks also announced that the university would be targeting an increase of non-resident enrollment. He said Berkeley anticipated enrolling about 100 more out-of-state and international students this year compared to last year, with plans to grow their portion of undergraduate population from 20 percent to 23 percent over the next three years.
The decision was "driven primarily by our commitments to maintain Berkeley's academic excellence, access and robust financial aid programs," Dirks wrote. "In order to sustain the excellence of our programs and the student experience, tuition from out-of-state and international students is crucial."
With tuition frozen and state funding recovering slowly from recession cuts, he added, "the fact remains that we have an unavoidable need to increase revenue in line with rising expenses."
Tuition and fees for in-state students at Berkeley are $12,864, compared to $35,864 for non-residents.
The map shows shows freshman admission data at UC campuses for 2014.
Editor's Note: This post was updated at 10:19 a.m. to correct the non-resident tuition. Out-of-state and international students pay $35,864 annually, $22,878 of which is a supplemental fee.
PHOTO: People walk through Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus on June 1, 2011. The Associated Press/Eric Risberg