UC Merced waiting for system's overflow

MERCED — This year marked the largest applicant pool in the University of California's history — and also one of the most competitive for potential freshmen.

The UC system received 100,428 applications, and 68,329 students were offered admissions letters to the 10-school system.

California residents took priority, because of state funding, and 58,777, or 86 percent, of admissions letters were sent to Californians.

Out-of-state and international admission letters were sent to 9,552 students.

UC Merced was one of two campuses that didn't use wait lists this year because it can accommodate all freshmen who received acceptance letters.

In the fall, UC Merced plans to enroll 1,325 freshmen and transfer students, according to Brenda Ortiz, spokesperson for UC Merced.

The school received 11,405 applications, the highest it's ever received, and the school offered admissions to 8,891, Ortiz said.

This year, the school had the highest acceptance rate of any UC campus — 78 percent.

By fall, the school's total enrollment should reach 3,900.

Last year, the school received 9,926 applications and accepted 7,851 students — a 79 percent acceptance rate.

Students who are UC- eligible and are wait-listed or not offered admission to any of the UC campuses for which they applied will be offered admission at UC Merced and UC Riverside — a process called referral.

The referral pool this year comprises 10,960 applicants.

The UC system reduced the number of students it could enroll for the second year in a row because of budget cuts and unfunded overenrollments at UC campuses. The 1,500-student cut in enrollment for this fall was less than the 2,300 in fall of 2009.

Susan Wilbur, director of undergraduate admissions for the University of California, said during a conference call that the UC system needs to scale back enrollment to the amount of funding it has.

"Eventually, we will get to the place where enrollment matches funding," she said.

Wilbur added that students placed on wait lists should find out by the end of May whether they've been admitted to the schools.

"Any student that has a firm offer should accept that by May 1," Wilbur said. "There is no guarantee that schools will go to their wait-lists."

For UC Merced, that means a lot of wait and see.