By Victoria Irwin
Fall 2011 undergraduate applications to the University of California rose for the seventh straight year, according to data released today (Jan. 14). The university received 142,235 submissions from prospective students, an increase of 6.1 percent over last year.
All campuses saw record numbers in freshman applications this year. The greatest increases were at San Diego (11.2 percent), Merced (8.9 percent) and Riverside (8.5 percent). Continuing a trend of recent years, all campuses experienced double-digit growth in transfer applications. The increases ranged from 31.2 percent at Riverside to 15.1 percent at Irvine. Transfer applications have increased systemwide by 26 percent since 2009.
The data reflect an increase in the number of applicants from many ethnic groups. Freshman applications from Chicano/Latino applicants rose 18 percent, while Asian freshman applicants grew by 5 percent. Applications from African-American and white students also grew slightly, 2.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. The transfer applicant pool showed increases of 26.4 percent for Chicano/Latinos, 14.7 percent for Asians and 12.3 percent for whites. (Since 2010, the African American category has included Africans and people from the Caribbean, as well as black Americans. Also since 2010, Latino has expanded to include those of Cuban/Cuban American, Latin American/Latino, Puerto Rican and other Hispanic, Latin American or Spanish origin.)
The number of freshman applications from California residents increased by 3.6 percent. "Since we are in a period where the number of projected high school graduates is flat, this increase suggests more students are meeting the university's admissions requirements," UC Director of Admissions Susan Wilbur said.
More applications from nonresident students were submitted as well, with an increase of 10.7 percent from out-of-state and 22.5 percent from international freshman applicants. On the transfer side, California transfer applications grew by 8.5 percent, while those from out-of-state students rose by 2.2 percent. Transfer applications from international applicants dipped slightly.
Wilbur said that the university intends to offer a space to every eligible California applicant, but "increasing student demand coupled with inadequate state funding for enrollment growth are making it increasingly difficult for UC to meet its historic commitment under the Master Plan." UC now enrolls 11,000 more California-resident students than the state provides funding for.
She said the campuses will use waitlists for a second year, noting that the strategy helped campuses enroll the maximum number of new students last year.
"We were able to process our waiting list quickly, and all applicants knew where they stood before the end of May," Wilbur said.
Wilbur also stressed the university's commitment to making sure students at every income level are able to attend UC.
"Despite recent fee increases, we expect to enroll large numbers of low-income students, in part because we return 33 percent of any new fee revenue back into financial aid," she said.
The Blue and Gold Opportunity Program ensures that financially needy California students whose family income is below $80,000 will pay no systemwide fees. In addition, the university will provide grants to cover the recent tuition increase for one year for financially needy California undergraduates with household incomes of less than $120,000.
Detailed data tables on UC's fall 2011 term applications are available online.