UC News: All-time record-high number of applicants apply to UC, with Chicano/Latino students comprising largest proportion

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The University of California announced today (Jan. 28) that the system received for fall 2021 admission the highest number of undergraduate applications in its history, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Preliminary data show UC received a total of 249,855 applications, a 16.1 percent leap from the past year, from students who applied to at least one campus: 203,700 from freshman applicants and 46,155 from aspiring transfer students.

The University of California announced today (Jan. 28) that the system received for fall 2021 admission the highest number of undergraduate applications in its history, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Highlights among California freshmen include a jump in overall applications and surges among African American and Chicano/Latino students, while California Community College transfer applications also grew by an impressive margin.

Preliminary data show UC received a total of 249,855 applications, a 16.1 percent leap from the past year, from students who applied to at least one campus: 203,700 from freshman applicants and 46,155 from aspiring transfer students.

“Our record number of applications is a testament to the resilience of students and their families as well as their undeterred focus on higher education,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “Californians continue to see us as the pathway for a better future.”

In a nod to successful in-state outreach efforts by its campuses, UC saw a substantial one-year increase among California freshman applicants of 14,789 applications or 13 percent. In total, applications for freshman admission — from both in-state and non-residents — shot up by 31,601, or 18.4 percent.

“I am heartened and inspired by so many hardworking students who want to attend the University of California,” said UC Board of Regents Chair John A. Pérez. “The diverse backgrounds, many strengths and impressive talents of those who enroll will undoubtedly enrich the UC community.”

The proportion of applications from underrepresented students for freshman admission remained steady at 45.1 percent this year, inching up from 45 percent last year. Campuses saw significant growth of freshman applications from African American students, with an increase of 1,505 applications or 21.8 percent, as well as Chicano/Latino students, with a jump of 5,250 or 12.2 percent.

Overall, Chicano/Latino applicants make up the largest proportions of prospective in-state students: 37.8 percent of freshman applicants and 33 percent of California Community College transfers.

Applications from California Community College students also rose by 2,474, or 7.5 percent, over the number of applicants from the past year. Within this group, applicants from underrepresented communities kept the same pace, making up 40 percent of the applicant pool, virtually no change from 40.1 percent in 2020.

“Resulting from partnership with CCC, these impressive numbers demonstrate the University’s continued advancement toward a student body that mirrors the rich diversity of California,” said Provost Michael Brown. “UC’s world-class education will give them the tools they need to achieve their highest dreams, in education and beyond.”

UC currently educates 226,449 undergraduates. Of this enrolled student population, 40 percent are first-generation, one-third receive federal Pell Grants, and California residents comprise 80 percent of undergraduates.

Additional details about applicants applying to the university can be found here, along with preliminary campus-by-campus breakdowns.

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