UC Merced received 15,054 undergraduate applications for Fall 2012, up from 13,701 in Fall 2011. Freshman applicants totaled 12,838, which represents 11.3 percent more than last fall.
“An increase in applications points to the campus’ growing popularity,” said J. Michael Thompson, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management. “It is a direct reflection of the strong value placed on a UC Merced education and the development of our academic programs, hands-on research opportunities and a growing array of student activities and amenities.”
A record 160,939 students applied to the UC system as a whole. This number includes a 9.5 percent increase in applications from students in the Central Valley region, a testament to the work UC Merced’s Center for Educational Partnerships is doing to increase the college-going rate in the Valley.
In Fall 2011, UC Merced's student enrollment rose to 5,198, a nearly 19 percent increase compared with Fall 2010 and two students shy of the target set for Fall 2012.
“Due to this tremendous success, the campus plans to moderate undergraduate enrollment growth in Fall 2012 in order to keep pace with new classrooms, laboratories and housing being built,” Thompson said. “This will help ensure a quality experience for all.”
According to Thompson, projected enrollment for Fall 2012 is 5,600, a net increase of about 400 students.
Of the 2,216 transfer applications the campus received, 92 percent originated from California Community Colleges. UC Merced had a 2.2 percent increase in applications at the transfer level, while there was a decrease systemwide.
Consistent with its mission as a major research university, UC Merced has made increasing graduate  student enrollment — currently 5 percent of total student enrollment — a top strategic priority. The campus is striving to reach 10 percent by the time total enrollment hits 10,000. Graduate applications are due Jan. 15, so the figures for Fall 2012 will not be available until later this spring.