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Fall Enrollment Nears 5,200, Exceeds Expectations

September 30, 2011
Largest freshman class in campus history boosts enrollment nearly 19 percent over last year

The University of California, Merced, today announced total enrollment for the Fall 2011 semester is 5,198, exceeding 5,000 students for the first time thanks to the largest freshman class in the campus’ history.

The total marks an increase of nearly 19 percent over last year, confirming steady demand for the newest UC campus and illustrating the need for increased funding for new facilities. It’s also just two students shy of the 5,200 projected for next year in the three-year funding agreement signed with the UC Office of the President in 2010.

The university is pulsing with excitement as students fill every corner of the campus, including the new Social Sciences and Management Building,” said Jane Lawrence, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “In addition to surpassing the 5,000 milestone for total enrollment, we are welcoming one of the strongest freshman classes in the campus’ history.”

The total enrollment reflects an influx of 1,681 new students, including 1,444 freshmen, 174 transfer students and 63 graduate students. According to statistics from UC Merced's Institutional Planning and Analysis, approximately 60 percent of undergraduates are first-generation students — those whose parents did not earn a college degree.

A highly qualified student population is increasingly becoming a hallmark of UC Merced. The average GPA of the incoming class is 3.44. The university has welcomed 29 new Regents Scholars, who were awarded scholarships based solely on their academic and personal achievements.

The student body at UC Merced is also geographically diverse. Undergraduates from the San Joaquin Valley represent the largest percentage of the total enrollment, at approximately 30 percent. About 28 percent come from the greater Los Angeles area, and nearly 27 percent are from the San Francisco Bay Area.

The university’s graduate student admissions continue to rise, as well. The 260 graduate students enrolled this fall represent a 7 percent increase over last year, and 88 percent of them are pursuing doctoral degrees.

Even in a difficult economic environment, students continue to see the value of a UC Merced education,” Lawrence said. “We are thrilled that they have decided to call our campus home.”

Note: Ethnicity data is pending review from the Office of the President.