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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Examining the Limits of Filipinx Enrollment in Selective Postsecondary Public Institutions Within the U.S.: A study on the University of California, Berkeley


California's Filipinx population is one of its largest Asian American subgroups with an extensive history of socioeconomic accounts, although higher education in the state has shown a drastic lack of underrepresentation for Filipinx and Filipinx Americans. This study focuses on the University of California, Berkeley, a selective public institution, and the disparities in effectively reaching parity within admissions applications and enrollment rates among California's significant Filipinx population. According to 2019 data published by the University of California Infocenter, more than 87,000 high school students applied to Berkeley with a 16% admit rate. Filipinx/Filipinx Americans accounted for only 3,468 (3.9%) of Berkeley's applications with only 489 (14%) admitted. When we keep in mind that Filipinxs identify as the largest Asian American subgroup of California, we see a huge discrepancy in numbers. In this paper, I utilize a variety of different resources that encapsulate the greater challenges of Filipinx students within both K-12 and higher education to pinpoint the institutional cause of low enrollment. This includes the disproportionate representation of Filipinx faculty, the racialization of Filipinx as a model minority, and the distinct educational values instilled in Filipinx culture. My data collection further consists of interviews among UC Berkeley undergraduate students, alumni, and faculty. Conversations were emphasized to highlight the socioeconomic elements they believed to be a contributing cause, what short-term and long-term effects culminated from the rate of Filipinx admission at Berkeley, and their impression on current California educational policies such as Proposition 209 and Proposition 16.

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