Matt Krupnick, our higher education reporter, tells us about the entering class at UC Berkeley, from the chancellor’s point of view, on the first day of classes.
A variety of media types gathered at UC Berkeley today – the first day of classes – to get Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s annual take on the university’s state of affairs. It was his seventh such briefing, if my math is correct, and mine as well.
While Birgeneau previously used this event to announce news, they have become more wide-ranging in recent years. He provides a look at the entering class and updates on other items of interest.
The 2010 version featured a lot of discussion about minority and low-income students. Berkeley, always known for its allegiance to the poor, enrolled a record number of low-income freshmen this year, Birgeneau said. More than one-third of the entering class of 5,000 freshmen – 37 percent – is eligible for the federal Pell Grant, a need-based scholarship.
But Birgeneau also mentioned his concern about the low number of underrepresented minority students. Just 3.2 percent of the class of 2014 is black, while 12.2 percent are Latino, 31 percent are white and 45.6 percent are Asian-American.
Additional income from the growing number of out-of-state and international students, who pay higher fees, will help UC Berkeley recruit more California minorities, he said.
The chancellor also talked about his concern for undocumented-immigrant students, who are unable to get state or federal aid for college. Birgeneau was scheduled to meet with a group of those students this afternoon, and he said he is working “as a private citizen” with an advocacy group on that issue.