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UC Merced Prepares to Welcome Students in Second Year

May 31, 2006


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