UC admission of California students at all-time record high

The University of California announced today (July 16) that it has offered a record number of California freshmen and transfer students admission to at least one of its nine undergraduate campuses for fall 2020.

Admission offers to California freshmen increased by 8,288 (up 12 percent compared to last year), with the admission rate rising to 70 percent (up by 9 percentage points). Offers to California Community College transfer students were up by 1,374 for a total of 28,074, with the admission rate remaining steady at 76 percent for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, UC’s overall freshman admission rate increased 8 percentage points this year, rising to 69 percent of all applicants, with 119,054 students admitted out of a pool of 172,308.

UC expects to increase total 2020-21 California resident enrollment by 1,600, on top of the more than 17,700 additional California residents that UC has enrolled since 2014-2015.

“This has been an incredibly challenging time as many students have been making their college decision in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students as we seek to educate a diverse student body of future leaders. The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us.”

As fall approaches, almost every UC undergraduate campus has announced plans for a hybrid of in-class and remote learning. Similar to many other universities, UC is seeing an increased use of waitlists this year as some students make enrollment decisions — either to enroll closer to home or to forego enrollment — based on COVID-19 concerns. This has prompted admissions officers to draw further from waitlists and allows campuses to admit as many students as possible in an effort to be responsive to student preferences and still work toward meeting enrollment targets.  

Offers to California freshmen from underrepresented groups increased by 4,678 for a total of 33,225, an increase of 16 percent from last year. In a first in UC history, Chicanx/Latinx students now comprise the largest ethnic group of admitted freshmen, making up 36 percent of admitted freshmen, up from 34 percent last year. Asian American students remained at 35 percent and white students decreased by a percentage point to 21 percent of admitted freshmen. The proportion of African American students inched higher from 4.8 percent to 5 percent and American Indian students remained at 0.5 percent.

The University also saw an increase in admission of low-income and first-generation-to-college students this year. The proportion of California freshmen who would be the first in their families to earn a four-year college degree increased to 45 percent (35,058), up from 44 percent (30,856) in 2019, while the proportion of low-income students grew to 44 percent (30,865), up from 40 percent (26,913).

Total admission of California Community College (CCC) students posted a high-water mark for 2020. Admitted CCC transfer students from underrepresented groups increased by 756 for a total of 9,640, an increase of 9 percent over last year. The racial/ethnic makeup remained similar to last year, with Chicanx/Latinx students comprising the largest proportion of California Community College transfers at 32 percent, up slightly from 31 percent last year. White community college transfer students dropped to 29 percent of admitted students (from 31 percent), and Asian Americans increased slightly to 29 percent from 28 percent last year. Admission of African American transfer students moved up slightly, to 5.6 percent from 5.5 percent last year and American Indian students stayed at 0.7 percent of admitted students.

“This year reflects our continued commitment to having one-third of our new students comprised of transfer students, despite challenges from the pandemic,” said Han Mi Yoon-Wu, UC’s executive director of undergraduate admissions. “We have seen steady increases over the past several years of admitted transfer students and will work hard to continue this upward trend.”

The preliminary data released today includes applicants admitted from waitlists and through the referral pool. Data tables with campus-specific information for both freshmen and transfers are now available.