Student Applications Remain Steady for Fall 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

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

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