University of California received a record-breaking number of applications for the upcoming fall semester, with UC Berkeley the top draw, the university system announced Thursday.
The nine campus-system received 210,840 freshman applications, a 3.5% increase from last fall. Although overall transfer applications were down, freshman applications, including those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and low-income students were up this year, the university system wrote in a news release.
The numbers represent a 3.3% growth in California freshman applicants since fall 2021 and nearly 17% growth in freshman applications from fall 2020.
Of the nine campuses accepting freshman applicants, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Irvine and UC Los Angeles had the largest increases in applications. Compared to fall 2021, UC San Diego received 12,866 more freshman applicants, UC Irvine received 11,226 more freshman applicants and UCLA received 10,316 more freshman applicants.
The biggest increase happened at UC Berkeley. The campus received 15,372 more freshman applications than last fall bringing its total to 128,192, but it’s still unclear how many students who applied will get acceptance letters this spring.
UC Berkeley currently is being forced to slash its acceptance by one third, or 3,050 first-year or transfer students, due to a conflict between the university and local neighbors over student growth.
A lawsuit filed by a group called Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods alleges increased student enrollment would make worse the city’s housing crisis and contends the university inadequately reviewed the environmental impacts of an expansion project. An appellate court upheld a judge’s decision to cap student enrollment at 42,327 until the lawsuit is finalized.
UC Berkeley’s deadlines for sending out admission decisions are March for freshmen and the end of April for transfer students.
Throughout the system, the proportion of California freshman applicants and community college transfer applicants from low-income families grew this year to 46 percent and 56 percent respectively, the data shows.
The UC attributed its outreach efforts to California high schools to its surge in applications from California freshmen in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and low-income students, officials wrote in a press release Thursday.
“The University of California remains an institution of choice for so many hardworking prospective undergraduates,” wrote President Michael V. Drake. “This diverse group of students has shown their commitment to pursuing higher education and we are thrilled they want to join us at UC.”
In the Bay Area, UC Davis received 7,607 more freshman applicants and UC Santa Cruz received 4,158 more freshman applicants than last fall.
Latino students comprised the largest ethnic group of California freshman applicants, 38.1%, a 4.1% increase over the past year across the university system. Those students also comprised the largest ethnic group of the pool of California Community College applicants for the fifth year in a row, the release reads.
The system received a 32.8% increase in American Indian freshman student applicants, 5.8% increase in Asian American student applicants, and 2.8% increase in Black student applicants over the past year.
Aside from the increase in transfer applications from low-income families, the college system saw a dramatic drop in all transfer applications. Overall transfer applications, including from out of state, decreased 12.6 percent and California Community College student transfer applications decreased 13 percent from last year for Fall 2022.
Officials pointed to national and declining community college enrollment due to the impacts of COVID-19 for the decline.
“This trend was especially true for California Community Colleges (CCCs) where enrollment declined by roughly 15 percent for fall 2020. The dramatic drop decreased the available pipeline of students applying to transfer to UC” from California Community Colleges for fall 2022,” the release reads.
University officials are “working to ensure that this critical group is supported in their efforts to apply at our campuses,” Han Mi Yoon-Wu, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions at UC wrote in the release.