Goals One of the University of California's highest priorities is to ensure that a UC education remains accessible to all Californians who meet its admissions standards. This goal is clearly articulated in California's Master Plan for Higher Education, which calls for UC to admit all eligible freshmen in the top 12.5 percent of California's public high school graduates. It also calls for UC to admit all eligible California Community College transfer students.
Admissions trends Demand for a UC education has risen dramatically over the past two decades. Applications to UC have doubled since 1994, and campuses that used to admit almost every eligible applicant have become more selective. Compared to a decade ago, students admitted today are better prepared academically, as measured by high school grades, scores on standardized tests and the number of rigorous high school courses they have taken. Almost 40 percent come from populations that have historically been underserved by higher education, such as low-income families and students who are the first in their families to complete a four-year degree.
Providing undergraduate access for a rapidly growing high school population has been a compelling state and University priority. However, in response to state budget cuts, UC reduced the number of entering California freshman over the past three years (2009–11); those reductions were partially offset by increasing the number of new California community college transfer students. Despite these reductions in freshmen enrollment, UC campuses continue to enroll over 11,000 California undergraduates for whom no state funding was received.
While enrollment of California students has been constrained by funding available from the state, UC campuses have capacity to enroll additional students. The number of nonresident domestic and international students has increased in recent years, but their proportion is still much lower than at comparable research universities.
Despite continuing financial pressures, the University continues in its commitment to provide a space on one of the UC campuses to all California applicants who meet minimum criteria for guaranteed admission and who wish to attend. In doing so, however, fewer students have been offered admission to a campus of their choice.
Looking forward In 2012, the University introduced new eligibility criteria that broadened opportunity for more students to be considered for admission to UC. The University will report on the outcomes of the 2012 admissions cycle to the Board of Regents in September 2012; the July 2013 Accountability Report will also describe how changes to UC's admissions process impacted the fall 2012 entering freshman class.
Over the next four years, the UC campuses also plan to enroll additional nonresident undergraduate students. Nonresident students enrich and diversify the student body; they also pay supplemental tuition ($22,878 in 2011–12) not charged to California residents. This extra revenue enables UC to improve educational programs for all students.
For more information The University maintains an extensive website with information on admissions.
Information on the California Master Plan for Higher Education is available online.