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January 31, 2000

Record enrollment and applications at UC

By Terry Lightfoot
UC Office of the President

The University of California enrolled 35,100 new undergraduate students this fall, the highest total ever and one likely to be exceeded by next year's class, to which a record 86,000 students have applied.

See related article: Applications top 20,000 for fall 2000 enrollment at UC Santa Cruz
Fall 1999 enrollment represents the fifth consecutive year of record numbers of new students entering the university. The trend is expected to continue as a major surge in California's college-age population, dubbed Tidal Wave II, boosts UC's enrollment by approximately 40 percent between now and 2010.

"The bottom line is that Tidal Wave II is not coming, it is here," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "To meet this increasing demand, we are pursuing a variety of strategies aimed at providing educational opportunities for the top 12.5 percent of public high school graduates and maintaining high-quality education."

To accommodate enrollment growth over the next decade, UC is considering a variety of options, including expanded summer instruction, regular fall-winter-spring enrollment growth, more off-campus opportunities, increased use of technology, and continued efforts to maximize students' ability to graduate in four years.

UC also is pursuing development of a new campus at Merced, which is expected to enroll 5,000 students by 2010.

This year's enrollment of all new students, freshmen and transfers, is 3.8 percent higher than last year. Freshman enrollment increased 4.4 percent, from 24,877 to 25,970. The number of upper-division transfer students rose 2 percent, from 8,959 to 9,139.

All ethnic groups experienced an increase, except American Indian students. White students increased 17 percent, from 11,931 to 13,965; East Indian/Pakistani students increased 12.9 percent, from 827 to 934; Asian American students increased 10 percent, from 8,773 to 9,654; Latino students increased 9.4 percent, from 1,046 to 1,144; Chicano students increased 8.9 percent, from 3,034 to 3,304; Filipino American students increased 4.7 percent, from 1,527 to 1,599; and African American students increased 4.6 percent, from 958 to 1,001.

The number of students from other ethnic groups increased from 572 to 747. The number of students from unknown groups declined from 4,912 to 2,540. American Indian students dropped from 256 to 245.

California freshman applications

An increase in applications continues to reflect the great interest UC holds for the state's top high school students. This year, 54,146 California students applied for freshman admission in fall 2000, an increase of 2.5 percent over the 52,847 students who applied for fall 1999.

Applications rose at all UC campuses, with Riverside (15.7 percent) and Santa Barbara (15 percent) recording the largest increases.

California freshman applications rose in each ethnic category except American Indian and white/other. The largest increases were among Latinos 6.4 percent, from 1,819 to 1,936; and Chicanos 6.3 percent, from 5,530 to 5,878. There also were increases in applications from African Americans 3.6 percent, from 2,099 to 2,174; Asian Americans 2.6 percent, from 14,535 to 14,920; and Filipino Americans 2.3 percent, from 2,629 to 2,690. Applications from American Indians declined 4.3 percent, from 376 to 360. Applications from white/others remained relatively unchanged with a 0.3 percent decline, from 22,019 to 21,944.

California Community College transfer applications

The number of upper-division California Community College students who applied to UC increased by 2.5 percent. Because upper-division students have 60 or more semester units and are better prepared for UC-level work, they are given priority in admission of transfer students. In addition, most of these students have applied to multiple UC campuses, further improving their chances of being admitted.

As a result, UC may admit more California Community College students for fall 2000 despite having a relatively flat number of overall applications. Following a very large increase in California Community College applications last year, the overall number of students seeking to transfer remained essentially flat, with an increase from 13,698 to 13,710.

It is likely those numbers will improve as several campuses continue to take applications from California Community College students over the next few weeks.


The total applicant pool for fall 2000 is composed of 54.5 percent female and 45.5 percent male students, compared with 54.9 percent female and 45.1 percent male last year.

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