You spoke about the state having a responsibility to provide access. How does UC Berkeley ensure that it does not fail in ensuring this?
We have a sophisticated admission system, which looks beyond normalised test scores while admitting students. The university admits one-third of its students from poor families; we have a robust financial system to support this. Of the nearly 6,000 fresh admissions every year, nearly 2,000 are students who have transferred in from community colleges.
We help students from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing preparatory classes and extra tutoring. In an effort to allow more students to avail of education at UC Berkeley, we have a higher number of students for every faculty — it is one faculty member for 22 students as against one for ten at MIT.
M.A. Pai, an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also mentions similar figures in an article on improving India's technical education:
Currently, the student-to-faculty ratio at many IITs is more like 10:1, which is a luxury, compared to the 20:1 in most US public universities.
We should not forget the fact that a large army of teaching assistants make it possible for the US public universities to boast about their large student/faculty ratios. [Here's something about what a bad TA could get away with!]