Pell grants are federal grants awarded to low-income undergraduate students; the number of Pell grant recipients is often used as a proxy for low-income student enrollment. In 2018, the US Department of Education released data for first-time, full-time freshmen enrollments in the 2011-2012 academic year and those students’ graduation outcomes through the 2017-2018 academic year.
UC campuses compare favorably in both the share of Pell grant recipients and six-year graduation rates when considering American Association of Universities (AAU) peers, California State University (CSU) campuses and a selection of other large state university systems.
- The UC system's freshmen class in 2011 enrolled 41% Pell grant recipient students. AAU public institutions, overall, enrolled 22% Pell grant recipients, while AAU private institutions enrolled 15%.
- 80% of UC Pell grant recipients who entered as freshmen in 2011 graduated within six years.
- No AAU or CSU campus both enrolled a higher percentage of Pell grant recipients in their 2011 freshmen class and had a higher graduation rate for those Pell recipient students.
Across all types of institutions, campuses that enroll a higher proportion of Pell grant recipients tend to have lower six-year graduation rates for those students. While UC campuses follow this pattern, they consistently outperform campuses that have similar proportions of Pell grant recipients. On average, public AAU universities enroll fewer Pell recipients (22%) and have lower graduation rates (72%) for those students than the UC system. Private AAU institutions have a higher graduation rate for Pell recipients (89%) than the UC average but enrolled a very small proportion (15%) of Pell recipient students.
UC also compares favorably to other large state university systems. With the exception of UC Berkeley, none of the flagship campuses of the University of Michigan, the Ohio State University, the University of Texas, the University of Washington or the University of Wisconsin enrolled a larger proportion of new freshmen Pell recipients than any UC campus.
You can use the interactive table below to find the most recent data about any institution's enrollment and graduation rates by Pell recipient status.