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Latinos Are Largest Group of Californians Admitted to UC Universities

Created: 17 July, 2020
Updated: 12 September, 2023
2 min read

For the first time in history, Latinos are the largest racial group among California students accepted into the prestigious University of California system, although it is not clear how many will accept the offer and attend one of the system’s 10 universities.

Latinos make up 36% of California students granted admission, followed by Asians at 35%, Whites at 21%, and Blacks at 5%, with 44% of all freshmen being first-generation Americans.

“UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students as we seek to educate a diverse student body of future leaders,” UC President Janet Napolitano said.  “The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some students have requested one year deferments instead of enrolling for this coming Fall sessions when most classes will be offered only online.

Although Latinos make up the largest group of California admissions, Asians make up the largest populations admitted at certain UC campuses. At the UC Los Angeles, 42% of admissions were Asians, 23% were Latinos, and 6% were Black. At UC Berkeley, 42% of admitted students were Asian, 29% were Latinos, and 5% were Black students.

The UC system has worked to outreach to underserved communities and also revamped its requirements to encourage diversity after years of declining enrollment among Latinos, Blacks, and Native Americans.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 209 which prohibited state governmental institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education. College and university admissions for Latinos, Blacks, and Native Americans fell in the years after Prop 209, but Latinos admissions have increased in recent years due to the higher percentage of Latinos in California relative to Blacks and Native Americans.

The UC system’s Board of Regents this year agreed to eliminate SAT and ACT tests as part of the admissions requirements because the tests are heavily influenced by race, income, and parental education level. The Board of Regents also voted to support a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide November ballot that seeks to repeal Proposition 209.

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In another first, the UC Board of Regents selected Michael V. Drake as the new President of the UC system. Drake will be the first Black leader in the system’s 152-year history.

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