The University of California system admitted a historic number of in-state students this year, as well as first-year students of color.
Over all, the 10-campus system admitted 88,285 first-year students from California, breaking a record set last year by 3.5 percent. Many of the campuses expanded their enrollment pools to do so, most notably UC Santa Cruz, which accepted 10,000 more first-year students over last year, a nearly 45 percent increase. Even UCLA’s acceptance rate crept up slightly, to 9.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Berkeley admitted its smallest class of incoming students in three years, but a higher number of Californians made up that class. The smaller class size is in line with an enrollment freeze mandated by a California state court in 2021, which forced the university to shrink its class sizes by the thousands.
By increasing in-state enrollment, the system’s most selective institutions, namely UCLA and Berkeley, are bucking a trend of pursuing out-of-state applicants and fulfilling a promise to state lawmakers to enroll more Californians in exchange for increased state funding—a pledge the system failed to meet last year.
An increase in transfer admissions helped bolster in-state acceptances as well, which is a welcome sign after years of plummeting transfer numbers in California and across the country. UC San Diego admitted 11,000 Californian transfer students, an increase of 11 percent over last year, and UCLA admitted 5,665 more transfer students for a 9 percent increase.
“The University’s latest admissions data reflects our commitment to expanding opportunity,” system president Michael Drake said in a statement. “We’re pleased to support thousands more Californians who wish to pursue a higher education, benefiting themselves and communities across the state.”
The system also admitted a record number of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, who make up 44 percent of the system’s incoming class.
This group was led primarily by Latinos, who also made up the largest portion of first-year in-state acceptances at 38 percent. Asian students from California followed close behind at 34 percent of the system’s incoming class, while white applicants made up 19 percent and Black students hovered at around 5 percent. At UCLA, the system’s most selective institution, over a third of its in-state first-years are students of color.
The increased diversity of the incoming UC class follows decades of experimentation in admissions policies to attract and retain more students of color, following the 1996 passage of Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action at the state’s public universities.