UC Merced Prepares to Welcome Students in Second Year

Geographic and Ethnic Diversity Continue to Characterize Student Body

The University of California, Merced today (May 31) announced that 550 new students have formally stated their intention to enroll at the newest UC campus this fall. The incoming freshman class along with transfer and graduate students will increase total enrollment to approximately 1,300 students in the university's second year of operation.

"UC Merced is playing an important role in fulfilling the University of California's obligation to provide access to a high-quality education to students from throughout the state, and over time that role will continue to expand," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "I'm delighted to see a diverse and highly qualified group of students taking advantage of the great opportunities at UC Merced."

To date, 456 freshman and 57 transfer students have expressed their intent to register. In addition, 37 students have been admitted for graduate study. The deadline for incoming undergraduate students to accept the offer of admission has been extended into the summer with the total number of new students likely to grow as applications continue to be processed.

"We're thrilled that exceptional students from all over the state have again selected UC Merced," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "With new facilities, new academic programs, new extracurricular activities and much more coming online at a rapid pace, we can promise an exceptional academic experience while retaining the warm, welcoming and personal environment our campus can offer. This is a great time to be a student at UC Merced."

In addition to being well qualified academically, the incoming freshman class is also more diverse (40.3 percent underrepresented ethnic or racial groups compared with 33.6 percent last year) and has a higher Central Valley representation (37.8 percent vs. 29 percent) than last year's inaugural class. Students from the San Francisco Bay Area currently make up 31.2 percent of the incoming freshman class while 21.3 percent hail from the Los Angeles region.

David B. Ashley, provost and executive vice chancellor, noted that current numbers indicate the incoming class size is smaller than last year's inaugural class, even though the number of applications received (more than 9,000) was slightly higher than in 2005. The campus had originally projected an additional 700 to 800 students would enroll for the Fall 2006 semester.

According to preliminary data released today (May 31) by the UC Office of the President, this has been a banner year for the UC system overall, with a record number of incoming freshmen submitting their Statement of Intent to Register. Susan Wilbur, UC's Director of Undergraduate Admissions, commented that several UC campuses increased the number of students admitted during this year's admissions season. As a result, UC-eligible students ended up with more choices.

"Historically, campuses - especially the newer ones - experience ebbs and flows in enrollment," said Wilbur. "It's interesting to note that colleges and universities all around the nation have reported this year's admissions cycle to be particularly unpredictable."

"UC Merced is the first new UC campus since 1965, and we know from the experience of those campuses that enrollments are likely to fluctuate in the early years," said Ashley. "We are already working on strategies to boost future student enrollment, including an expanded selection of majors, and are confident that an ever-increasing number of students will take advantage of the top-notch educational opportunities available at UC Merced."

UC officials are particularly pleased by the growing number of applications from Central Valley students to UC Merced and to the UC system as a whole. The number of Valley students offered admission to UC increased by 14 percent between Fall 2005 and Fall 2006 alone.

As a young campus, UC Merced is continuing to develop academic programs and activities that will match students' interests. For example, five new majors and 10 new minors have been added this fall. In addition, 16 new faculty members will arrive this summer and add to the breadth of academic expertise on campus.

"We are committed to making UC Merced a world-class research and teaching institution in the finest UC tradition," said Ashley. "We think we're well on the way toward that goal."

In its first year of operation, UC Merced faculty and staff attracted $7 million in research funding. Private support to date in the first year totals $18 million, six times the amount compared to the previous year.

Snapshot of Incoming Freshman Class at UC Merced - Fall 2006 Semester

(1) First-Generation College - 50%(44.3% in 2005)
(2) Low Income - 43.1%(42.2% in 2005)
(3) Underrepresented Minorities - 40.3%(33.6% in 2005)
Rural Students - 19.5%(15.5% in 2005)
Central Valley - 37.8%(29% in 2005)
Los Angeles Region - 21.3%(29.6% in 2005)
San Francisco Bay Area - 31.2%(29.3% in 2005)

1 - Neither parent has a four-year college degree
2 - Admitted applicants with intent to register reporting family income at or below the 30th percentile of the Current Population Survey (CPS) for Californians aged 30-65, or $40,000 or less in Fall 2005 and in Fall 2006.
3 - African American, American Indian, Chicano or Hispanic

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