SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California has admitted a record number of in-state transfer students for the upcoming academic year, as part of UC’s plan to expand access to the university system for California community college students, officials said Wednesday.
UC system officials said its nine undergraduate campuses had offered admission to nearly 137,000 students overall, 70 percent of them from within the state, as annual enrollment continues to increase.
“We have more California undergraduates enrolled at the University of California than at any point in our history,” Robin Holmes-Sullivan, vice president of student affairs told reporters Wednesday. “We want to make sure that UC is accessible to as many students as possible, including transfers.”
Among those admitted were 28,750 transfer applicants, nearly 85 percent of them from in-state. The transfer of residents from community college grew by 8 percent, the UC said in a statement.
One of them is Luis Ramierz Martinez, a 27-year-old who is transferring from San Jose City College and plans to study media and film at UC Berkeley.
“I never thought I’d be able to go to a place like Berkeley,” said Martinez, who spent six months behind bars for selling cocaine at age 24, a misstep that made him realize the importance of an education. An incoming junior, Martinez says the higher cost of a degree at Berkeley will be challenging but worth the expense. Tuition and fees at Berkeley will be over $14,000 compared to about $1,200 at San Jose.
“I know I am a smart individual and I know I have a brilliant mind,” said Martinez, who says financial aid will cover about half his costs and freelance work in photography and video will cover the rest, as he looks for scholarships. “The fact that there is a system that allows students like myself to travel to a place like Berkeley is amazing.”
Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have pressured UC schools to expand access to California community college students, thereby offering a cheaper way to complete a four-year degree at the state’s top public universities.
UC campuses are working toward a goal of enrolling one new California resident transfer student for every two new in-state freshmen, Holmes-Sullivan said. As part of those efforts, some UC campuses reached out to community colleges in their area to seek out transfer students for this fall, she said.
Earlier this year, UC President Janet Napolitano announced that the university system would guarantee admission to all qualified community college students in a plan she hoped to set up for the 2019-20 academic year.
The numbers of freshman and transfer students admitted to the top UC schools shifted slightly, with UC Berkeley and UCLA increasing offers to in-state transfer students and decreasing offers to incoming California freshman.
The preliminary data shows UC Berkeley, for example, has offered 810 fewer spots to incoming California freshman and 65 more spots to transfer students. UCLA admitted 562 fewer in-state freshmen but 64 more transfer students.
UC Spokeswoman Dianne Klein said that the numbers are still preliminary and a decrease in admissions at certain campuses does not mean actual enrollment will be down. Final enrollment figures will be released in December.
The UC system set a three-year goal of adding an additional 10,000 California students by the 2018-19 academic year, and it expects to surpass that goal, Klein said.
“We think it will be much closer to 15,000. We are at an all-time high for enrollment of California students, and it will be higher for 2018-19,” she said.
Among freshman applicants, Asian American students remained the largest group admitted at 36 percent, up by 2 percent from the previous year, while the percentage of white students dropped from 24 percent to 22 percent. Latinos were 33 percent of those admitted and African Americans represented 5 percent, both the same as the previous year.