UC Merced applications top 10,000 for second year in a row

The number of students applying to UC Merced this year remained steady. Applicants for freshman positions fell slightly from last year, while transfer student applications rose. Overall, the campus received 10,296 applications, up slightly from 10,216 in 2008.

UC Merced officials said they were pleased to have topped the 10,000 mark for the second year in a row, even during the economic crisis that lead to a cut in the University of California systemwide projected enrollment for 2009.

UC Merced is spared from the enrollment cut and hopes to admit 1,080 freshman next year, the largest class in the school's five-year history. Last year's freshman enrollment was 925.

"We are extremely pleased that our applications and the quality of our applicant pool remain strong, despite the well-documented budget difficulties we face throughout California," UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang said in a press release.

"In the long run, the best hope for sustained economic growth and prosperity in the state is a highly educated populace," the statement continued.

The total number of students on campus at UC Merced next year is anticipated to be 3,200, up from 2,718 this year. The 15 percent increase is consistent with college's expansion and available resources, the university said.

Kang's statement also guaranteed on-campus student housing for all incoming students who apply by the housing deadline.

Reporter Danielle Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dgaines@mercedsun-star.com.