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Minority Applications up at UC

January 29, 1998

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ The number of black and Hispanics applying to the University of California is up this year, the first in which freshmen will be admitted without regard to race or gender.

Overall, 59,000 high school seniors applied to the university system’s nine schools, an 8 percent increase from last year and the largest one-year jump in a decade.

Applications from blacks rose 3.1 percent, from 1,905 to 1,965, and applications from Mexican-Americans were up 10.1 percent, from 4,759 to 5,239.

University officials credited the increases to a higher number of high school minority graduates. They also pointed to improved outreach programs that followed the Board of Regents’ 1995 vote to scrap race-based admissions policies that had held blacks and Hispanics to an easier admission standard.

``Certainly these numbers indicate that a large number of underrepresented students do consider the university hospitable enough to apply to,″ Dennis Galligani, assistant vice president for student academic services, said Wednesday.

Asians were the only minority group whose applications dropped _ 1.8 percent, from 11,848 to 11,629. Applications from whites also dropped 10 percent, from 21,409 to 19,264.

Officials attribute both drops to a tripling of the number of students who chose not to state their ethnicity, from 2,286 to 7,085. The choice was always optional, but forms this year made it even clearer students didn’t have to check the boxes; the information is kept only for statistical purposes, not admission decisions.

University officials say they don’t know whether having more applicants for the incoming freshman class will translate into more minorities being accepted.

The regents’ vote to drop race and gender as factors in admission went into effect for graduate students in the fall and for undergraduates this spring.

Last fall, just one black and seven Hispanics were in the University of California-Berkeley law school’s new class of 270 students. By comparison, 52 blacks and Hispanics entered the law school in 1996 under affirmative action guidelines.

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