Apollonia Morrill, UC Newsroom
The University of California enrolled the largest class of students in history this past fall — including a significant increase in California undergraduates and a corresponding decline in out-of-state students.
UC enrollment data released Jan. 19 found 295,573 students enrolled for fall 2023, including both graduate and undergraduate students. The number of undergraduates rose to a record-breaking 233,272 students.
California undergraduates made up the largest group, accounting for 194,571 students, or 83.4 percent. Of those, 42,058 were first-year students, a 5 percent increase over fall 2022.
Correspondingly, out-of-state undergraduate enrollment dipped across the system — including at UC’s three most competitive undergraduate campuses, UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego — falling to 16.5 percent, the lowest level since fall of 2017.
The growing in-state enrollment numbers reflect multiyear efforts across the university to help more Californians attain a UC degree, a goal that has been furthered with the support and help of state lawmakers and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
|Fall 2023 UC enrollment
|Pell Grant recipients
|Total California undergraduates
“Undergraduate enrollment of underrepresented groups increased compared to last year across all groups, and the University continues to enroll more community college students than any institution of our caliber in the nation,” University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., told the Board of Regents as he shared the good enrollment news.
“These accomplishments are reflective of the commitment and hard work of our staff, faculty and campus leaders — all of whom are working diligently to expand opportunity for California students and support them during their time at the University. We’re proud of these milestones and will continue to push forward on goals set forth in the state budget and our compact with the governor.”
Enrolling more underrepresented students
The fall 2023 enrollment data reflect an increase in the number of UC students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education, including African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans/Pacific Islanders.
Students from these groups now make up 32 percent of UC’s total undergraduate enrollment. All three underrepresented groups saw increases in fall 2023: Black student enrollment grew by 6 percent, Latino enrollment by 5 percent and Native American/Pacific Islander enrollment by 15 percent. Among undergraduates, the share of first-generation students and those from low-income families receiving federal Pell grants stayed flat at 37 and 33 percent, respectively.
This progress results from intentional work to make UC more reflective of the rich diversity of the state and more accessible to underrepresented students, including through outreach efforts and by providing one of the strongest financial aid programs in the nation. In fact, 54 percent of California undergrads get enough grants and scholarships to cover all of their tuition.
A strong showing for California Community College transfers
Fall 2023 enrollment also included large numbers of California Community College (CCC) transfer students. In fact, the university enrolls more community college students than any university of its caliber in the nation, with 27 percent of undergrads starting their UC journey at a community college.
While fall 2023 transfers dropped slightly (by 0.4 percent), the decline corresponds to lower community college enrollment due to the pandemic, including a 20 percent drop in the number of students who enrolled in community college with the intent to transfer between fall 2019 and fall 2021. UC is committed to continuing to expand transfer pathways and increase transfer student enrollment.