UC Merced

UC Merced enrollment jumps 28 percent to 4,381

UC Merced said its fall census showed the 2010-11 student body at 4,381, an increase of more than 28 percent from a year ago.

This follows a record number of applications last November and a surge in campus visits by high school students from all over the state.

“Many studies have shown that the long-term solution to economic hardship, for individuals as well societies as a whole, lies in higher education,” UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang said. “The state’s prolonged financial struggles have made this maxim especially relevant of late.

University officials said they were thrilled by the growing demand they’ve witnessed since the newest UC campus opened with 875 students in 2005. Today’s campus is much more developed and refined, boasting many of the amenities of its nine sister campuses, according to a news release, yet remaining the smallest and most intimate in the system.

This year’s student body includes 1,341 new freshmen, up nearly 19 percent over a year ago, along with 209 new transfer students and a total of 243 graduate students. Some 58 percent of incoming freshmen are first-generation college students. Roughly 59 percent of them are receiving financial aid in the form of federal Pell grants, available only to families in the lowest economic strata.

Census data for the current year show that students come to UC Merced from all corners of the state. About 29 percent of incoming freshmen hail from the San Francisco Bay Area. Nearly 27 percent are from the San Joaquin Valley, and about 22 percent come from the greater Los Angeles area. The Sacramento/Lake Tahoe area contributes nearly 7 percent.

The growth in enrollment is expected to continue in coming years. Funding agreements with the UC Office of the President will allow the university to add an estimated 600 students a year through the 2012-13 academic year, when student enrollment is expected to top 5,000.For complete data, visit the Office of Institutional Planning & Analysis’ website: ipa.ucmerced.edu.