UC Merced Prepares to Welcome First Students on Campus

Central Valley Students Represent Almost 30 Percent of Developing Freshman Class

MERCED, CA. --- After 17 years of planning and development, UC Merced is making its final preparations to welcome freshman, transfer and graduate students on campus in just over three months.

A total of 974 students have already submitted their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) for UC Merced's inaugural year, which officially begins on Sept. 6. In recent weeks, 867 students have submitted their freshman SIRs. In addition, 73 students have expressed their intent to register as transfer students and 34 students have been admitted for graduate study. Students interested in transfer admission have until June 1 to submit their SIR.

For students who have received offers of freshman and transfer admission to UC Merced, submitting an SIR is taking the next step in the undergraduate admissions process. The SIR reserves space for students who wish to attend UC Merced and confirms their intent to enroll for Fall 2005.

The following characteristics of students who have already submitted the SIR provide a preliminary glimpse of UC Merced's inaugural freshman class:

- 47 percent identify themselves as first-generation college students.
- 23 percent self-identify as first-generation college students who also come from families earning less than $30,000 annually.
- 32 percent self-report as coming from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups (e.g. African Americans, American Indians and Latinos).
- 68 percent applied for and are receiving offers of financial aid and 52 percent qualify for need-based financial assistance.

As campus admissions officials had projected, a significant number of students from the Central Valley are signing up to come to the new campus this fall. Approximately 250 students from the region — ranging from Placer County in the north to Kern County in the south — have already said "yes" to UC Merced.

"We are thrilled that so many top students from our home region in the Central Valley and throughout the state are choosing UC Merced as the place to pursue their university education," says Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "Their interest underlines the need for this new UC campus, as does the growing number of UC-eligible students in the state. We also are pleased that UC Merced campus is helping expand access to UC for students from a broad cross-section of California's communities and populations, including many students who will be the first in their families to attend college."

"We're excited that right now it looks like Central Valley students will represent almost 30 percent of our actual freshman population this fall," says Director of Admissions Encarnación Ruíz. "This is very rewarding given our mission to help create a college-going culture in this region. Of course, we look forward to welcoming students from all over the state, each bringing his or her unique talents and perspectives to the campus."

Following in line with applications and admits, the largest numbers of freshman SIRs are coming from California's major population centers, including Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, about 180 students from L.A. and 260 students from the Bay Area have indicated they plan to attend UC Merced.

All incoming freshmen are expected to attend one of four Orientation sessions scheduled on July 9 in Bakersfield, July 23 in Fresno, Aug. 6 in Atwater and Aug. 20 in Merced. At the sessions, students will be able to meet with academic advisers, register for fall classes, take placement exams, and learn more about academics, student services and campus life at UC Merced. Transfer students also are encouraged to attend the sessions. A separate Orientation program will be presented to graduate students in September.

All UC Merced students and their parents also are invited to attend a formal convocation ceremony, scheduled for Sept. 5 on campus. Marking the official start of the academic year, the first day of classes is set for Sept. 6.

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