Earlier this month, a California court ruled that UC Berkeley must freeze enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year at 2020-2021 levels. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill reversing this enrollment freeze. As reported by Maria Young of The Daily Cal, the bill “increases fall 2022 enrollment at UC Berkeley and reverses the effects of the lawsuit that froze enrollment at 2020-21 levels.”
More specifically, the bill “exempt[s] California’s public colleges and universities from assessing the environmental impact of changes in their enrollment” and “address[es] the conditions under which a court would be allowed to order additional environmental review or an enrollment freeze based on a change in enrollment alone,” according to the San Francisco Business Times. Young further explains that “the bill… grant[s] California public higher education systems 18 months to mitigate any environmental impacts before enrollment could be capped.”
Originally, UC Berkeley had outlined steps they were going to take to offer as many students admission as possible, including attending the first semester online or starting at UC Berkeley in January 2023. However, because of this new bill, the university no longer has to use these mitigation plans, writes Young. The school is now moving forward with its plan to offer admission to 15,000 freshman and 4,500 transfer students, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof. UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ noted that the campus is working to build more housing options, addressing concerns brought up by the president of the group that initiated the enrollment freeze battle.