Enrollment at UC Merced continues to grow each year as California students are drawn to the small campus, with more than a third of this year’s new students coming from Southern California, a new university report shows.
The newest campus in the University of California system has 6,815 undergraduate students registered for classes this fall, and 2,049 of them are first-year students.
Compared with the start of the 2015 school year, enrollment grew by 9.3 percent, said Jill Orcutt, the university’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.
To reach the 2020 Project’s goal of enrolling 10,000 students by the year 2020, the university needs to add about 700 students each year, according to university estimates.
The target for fall of 2017 is 7,800, Orcutt said, meaning the university will need to add about 1,000 more students next school year to keep pace.
The campus welcomed 2,049 first-year students this fall, the most since the campus opened, and 173 transfer students this school year.
Nearly all of the campus’ students – 99 percent – are from California. Southern Californians make up the largest group on campus at 38 percent, trailed closely by Valley natives at 35 percent and 23 percent of students from the Bay Area. The remaining 1 percent of students come from various other states and foreign countries, mainly China, Orcutt said.
UC Merced is becoming the school of choice for more students, the university reported. Only 6 percent of students came from the UC’s referral pool, down from 28 percent when the Merced campus opened more than 10 years ago.
“More and more students are finding the unique qualities of a welcoming, student-centered research university – one they will help to build – very much to their liking,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a news release.
More than 70 percent of the school’s students are the first in their families to attend college, the university reported. Of the Valley native students, 74 percent are first-generation. About 88 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, and 61 percent are Pell grant eligible.
“We continue to educate some of California’s brightest students, many from traditionally underrepresented populations,” said Charles Nies, vice chancellor for student affairs, in the news release. “We want them all to know that they belong here, will thrive here and have the ability to become successful in their chosen career.”
UC Merced also is home to 49 graduate students and 472 doctoral candidates.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477