UC Merced once again broke a record for the number of first-year applications the university received, continuing to show impressive growth even as the national trend shows a decline in the number of students enrolling in higher education.
More than 26,000 prospective first-year, or freshmen, students applied for admission to the university. And nearly 4,000 students applied to transfer to UC Merced. Most of the applicants are from California.
Of particular note is the number of first-year international students who applied which rose 23% from the previous year. Also seeing an impressive jump was the number of African American transfer applicants, up 13.3%. UC Merced also received 1,045 applications from prospective graduate students - a 6.7% increase in the number of compared to last year. As of this time last year, the campus had received 979 graduate applications. Of the students who applied for graduate programs, 583 were domestic applicants and 462 international.
Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said the increase in applications is gratifying, but not surprising.
"UC Merced has a reputation for excellence and opportunity, and is located in one of the most affordable cities among all UC campuses. We are blazing an exciting trail in the heart of California so it's fitting that while numbers are down in other parts of the country, we continue to attract a wide range of students and their families," he said.
Dustin Noji, director of admissions, said that some of the increase from international students stems from the loosening of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
"China, India and Korea are the top three countries/regions where we receive international applicants, but this year we've seen an increase in areas beyond these countries," he said.
Recent efforts to emphasize equity, justice and inclusive excellence also are reflected in the report. Last year, UC Merced hired Marve Eggleston, an admissions outreach specialist, to work with prospective African American students and their families.
Noji credited that work, which includes attending college and resource fairs, with helping to boost the number of students who applied to transfer to UC Merced.
"We've been very proactive, even hosting events on campus such as our Black Bobcat Reception, the Black Student Union of Central California Conference, and a webinar called 'We are Family' to highlight Black student support resources, the classroom experience, research and current/alumni success stories," Noji said.
Muñoz said the future is bright for all of the campus' students, and the focus on increasing outreach to traditionally underserved populations is paying dividends.
Students will be notified of admission decisions for the fall semester starting in March.