The UC system received a record-breaking number of applicants for fall 2022 and saw an increase in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in its application pool.
According to a Feb. 24 press release by the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, the UC campuses combined received 210,840 freshman applications this year, the highest number in the system’s 154-year history.
“For fall 2021, the University of California enrolled its largest and most diverse class. This is in line with our key priorities to expand access, affordability and inclusive excellence,” UCOP spokesperson Joanna McWilliams said in an email. “In the applications we received for fall 2022 admissions, we continue to see these important priorities being reflected.”
The press release noted UC saw an increase of 7,140 freshman applicants systemwide, up 3.5% from last year.
This year’s application pool was also more socioeconomically diverse than last year’s, with 46% of freshman applicants and 56% of transfer applicants coming from low-income families.
According to Tariq Azim, Transfer Student Affairs Officer for the UC Student Association, one of the possible reasons for an increase in applications is the university’s removal of standardized test requirements, such as the SAT and ACT.
However, the proportion of transfer applicants declined by 12.6% systemwide for fall 2022. The press release attributes this figure to the COVID-19 pandemic, which decreased the pipeline of students applying from California Community Colleges, or CCCs.
“The thing about the California Community Colleges as an institution is that they saw a significant decline in their enrollment by … 2.1 million,” Azim said. “That was upsetting because community college is a system that is the most equitable at the moment.”
Community colleges have more part-time students, parents, grandparents and workers with more than one job, according to Azim.
At UC Berkeley, the number of CCC transfer applications declined from 17,763 in 2021 to 16,027 in 2022, Azim added.
According to campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore, UC Berkeley has provided more online outreach events with the goal of reaching a greater number of students and communities during the pandemic.
A larger number of Latinx and Indigenous American students have applied to the university, a trend that Azim claims is attributed to recruitment and retention strategies implemented by UC and community colleges.
“As a first-generation student, connecting with students from similar backgrounds makes me feel a lot more comfortable as I pursue education,” Azim said. “Overall, the transfer student community within the UC system statewide is one of the most racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student bodies.”