Campus Census Provides Updated Profile of Inaugural Class

Thirty-Eight Percent of First Students Hail from the Central Valley

MERCED, CA - The new University of California campus in Merced, which opened Sept. 5, has completed its first campus census now that students have finished the process of registration of classes.

"With the census in hand, we have a more complete picture of our inaugural class," said David B. Ashley, UC Merced Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. "The 875 students who are enrolled fully reflect the state's diversity in terms of geographic regions, ethnicity and socioeconomic background. Seeing the high-caliber students from diverse backgrounds who have chosen UC Merced as their final choice for obtaining their education provides a great sense of satisfaction."

Original estimates of the inaugural class were based on student statements of intent to register (SIRs) which totaled 1,051 when SIR numbers were tabulated in June. Though SIRs are technically binding commitments, most college campuses experience some amount of "summer melt" in their enrollment numbers as students' plans change. UC Merced had projected about 1,000 students would enroll. The official census taken on Monday, Sept. 26, reflects the enrollment of 875 students including 706 freshmen, 132 transfers and 37 graduates. Students who submitted SIRs to attend UC Merced had until Sept. 23 to complete the enrollment process and register for classes, which began Sept. 6.

"We've always known that a certain number of committed students would need to postpone or cancel their enrollment plans despite their best efforts and intentions," said Ashley. "At the same time, we're thrilled to have a very sizable first class of highly qualified students who reflect the pioneering spirit and uniquely diverse character of our entire state. For those who couldn't complete enrollment this year, we strongly urge them to reapply as their individual circumstances permit."

A significant portion of students who initially applied and were admitted to UC Merced had also been admitted to other universities and colleges. Some students chose campuses that were less costly or where they had a better financial aid package; some elected campuses where there was a better fit with their academic major; some ended up not being qualified to enroll; and some had personal reasons that ultimately led to a decision not to enroll.

The following characteristics of students who have enrolled provide a snapshot of UC Merced's inaugural class:

- 38 percent are originally from the Central Valley, 27 percent from the San Francisco Bay Area and 31 percent from Southern California.

- The gender mix is evenly split, 50-50.

- 31 percent self-report as coming from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups (e.g. African Americans, American Indians and Latinos).

- 49 percent identify themselves as first-generation college students.

- 17 percent self-identify as first-generation college students who also come from families earning less than $30,000 annually.

- 80 percent applied for and received financial aid and 64 percent of those students qualified for need-based financial assistance.

With the November application period looming for the Fall 2005 semester, UC Merced's Admissions Office has already begun preparations for the next admissions cycle. Staff members have attended statewide conferences hosted for high school and community college counselors. In addition, UC Merced will host application workshops for students interested in applying for undergraduate admission starting Oct. 15.

"We're gearing up to handle a fairly wide range of students and rapid growth over the next five years," Ashley said.


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