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Student Applications Remain Steady for Fall 2009

January 23, 2009

MERCED, CA— The University of California,
Merced said today (Jan. 23) applications from first-time students
to the newest UC campus once again surpassed the 10,000 mark in
fall 2009, despite the state’s deepening economic difficulties and
the UC system’s recent decision to enroll 2,300 fewer freshmen
systemwide in 2009 than in 2008.

UC Merced’s incoming freshman class is expected to total
approximately 1,080 this fall, the largest in the university’s
five-year history. Expansion of the Merced campus will continue at
a modest rate consistent with available resources. Last year’s
freshman enrollment was 925.

UC Merced is one of only two UC campuses with a projected
freshman increase this fall. The other, UC Berkeley, is expected to
add a small increase in freshman students.

Overall, UC Merced expects to enroll approximately 3,200
students this fall, an increase of 15 percent over the 2,718
enrolled in Fall 2008. The increase in students will include new
incoming freshmen, transfer students and graduate students, minus
this academic year’s graduates and students who do not return to
school. Approximately 450 students are expected to finish their
studies at UC Merced this academic year.

“We are extremely pleased that our applications and the quality
of our applicant pool remain strong, despite the well-documented
budget difficulties we face throughout California,” said UC Merced
Chancellor Steve Kang. “In the long run, the best hope for
sustained economic growth and prosperity in the state is a highly
educated populace. We are deeply committed to our fundamental
mission of increasing UC-quality educational opportunity for the
young people of the San Joaquin Valley and throughout the state.”

Kang said construction of campus facilities also remains on
track to accommodate the larger student population. On-campus
student housing for all incoming students is guaranteed for those
who apply by the deadline, he said.

Total student applications to UC Merced, including freshmen and
transfer students, amounted to a record 10,296 (as of Jan. 23) for
fall 2009 admission, compared with 10,216 in 2008. Freshman
applications totaled 9,065, down slightly from 9,105 in 2008, while
transfer applications rose to 1,231 versus 1,111 the prior year.

UC Merced’s application results generally parallel those of the
system as a whole, which experienced a slower pace of overall
growth than in the prior year. Freshman applications were
essentially flat, reflecting the statewide economic slowdown.

“We are doing everything we can to assist our current and new
students financially and help them attend and stay in school,” said
Kevin Browne, UC Merced assistant vice chancellor for enrollment.
“More than half of our applicants are from low-income families. It
takes real sacrifice and courage to send a family member away to
college when he or she could be helping to support the family at home.”

Approximately 53.5 percent of UC Merced’s freshman applicants
come from families that meet the state’s definition of low-income
family, Browne said. A similar number (53.3 percent) are
first-generation college students. Both percentages are the highest
for any campus in the UC system.

Graduate Data

As of Jan. 22, UC Merced had received a 31% increase in the
number of applications from prospective domestic graduate students
compared to last year and an 11% increase in applications overall.
329 students applied for graduate programs, 186 of whom were
domestic applicants and 143 international. As of this time last
year, the campus had received 294 graduate applications. Assuming
the funding required to support graduate students remains in place,
there will be space to grant admission to approximately 100 new
graduate students for fall 2009.

“We are very pleased with the growth in the number of graduate
students in our campus’ short history,” said Samuel Traina, acting
vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies. “The
reputation of our stellar faculty is clearly attracting many
outstanding graduate students to UC Merced.”

According to fall 2008 enrollment data, there are 180 students
currently seeking graduate degrees at UC Merced.

More Information

  • Graduate
  • University of California’s Undergraduate Application Data

Important Dates for Fall 2009 Undergraduate Applicants

  • Through March 2 — Financial aid priority application
    filing period for students to submit Free Application for Federal
    Student Aid (FAFSA) and a GPA Verification Form for Cal Grants. UC
    Merced’s FAFSA School Code is 041271
  • Feb. 15 — Application deadline for graduate student admission
  • March 1-31 — On-time freshman applicants notified of
    admission decision
  • March 1-May 1 — On-time transfer applicants notified of
    admission decision
  • April 18 — Bobcat Day; campus open house for prospective
    students and their families
  • May 1 — Deadline for freshman admits to submit Statement
    of Intent to Register
  • June 1 — Deadline for transfer admits to submit Statement
    of Intent to Register


Patti Waid Istas