UC Merced Exceeds Enrollment Projections, Topping 2,700 Students

MERCED - For the second consecutive year, student enrollment at the University of California, Merced, has risen 45 percent compared with the prior year, university officials announced today, Oct. 1.

There are 2,718 students enrolled this fall, up from 1,871 in the fall of 2007 and 875 in the university's inaugural year of 2005. The current total includes 925 new freshmen, 139 new transfer students and 66 new graduate students. Last year's totals were 669 new freshmen, 116 new transfers and 52 new graduate students. Based upon admissions numbers and traditional yield rates, UC Merced officials expected 2,625 students on campus this semester.

"We are extremely gratified by the strong demand from students seeking access to the newest UC campus," said UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang. "Prospective and current students are more energized than ever by the prospect of a UC-quality education in an innovative environment they are helping to build. This is an experience that simply isn't available anywhere else in the country."

The uniqueness of that experience is something student body president Yaasha Saaba knows from experience.

"You're actually getting your money's worth at UC Merced," Saaba said. "What other university allows you to enter as a freshman, create your own club, conduct research with a world-renowned professor and create policies that will affect future generations of students?

"That has been my personal experience with UC Merced - I've started clubs, been president of clubs, worked in a stem-cell research lab, interned in the Office of Student Life, and now lead student government. I wouldn't have accomplished half of that on another campus."

UC Merced was established in the Valley partly to address chronically low levels of educational attainment in the region and throughout California's greater Central Valley. Since the fall of 2004, the year before UC Merced opened, applications to UC campuses from Central Valley residents have increased 41 percent and admissions have risen 45 percent.

UC Merced's largest-ever incoming class of freshmen comes from all over the state and is reflective of California's highly diverse population. Geographic and ethnic backgrounds are as follows:

Freshman enrollment by region as % of freshman total

2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007
San Joaquin Valley 29.5 30.1 35.0
Bay Area 30.3 26.5 28.5
Los Angeles 19.0 15.0 14.6

Freshman enrollment by ethnicity as % of freshman total

Asian 32.5 31.7 34.6
Hispanic 32.1 28.0 25.5
Caucasian 22.5 25.1 25.7
Black 7.2 5.9 5.7
Other/Unknown 3.8 5.8 6.2
Non-resident alien 1.4 2.9 1.6
American Indian 0.4 0.7 0.7

University of California statistics show UC Merced to be the most diverse in the 10-campus UC system. It also has the highest percentage of first-generation college students, with 50.5 percent reporting that neither of their parents have a four-year degree.

"Expanding access to the UC system is critical to the long-term prosperity of the region and the state," said Kevin Browne, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management. "UC Merced is opening the door to many highly qualified students who might have considered a UC education unattainable in the past."


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