UC Fall 2024 Applications Rise, Boosted by Transfer Students

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Transfers stand to increase even more under a pilot program that prioritizes 2-year college students with associate degrees in certain majors.

The University of California (UC) system saw a rise in applications for fall 2024—largely driven by an increase in transfer student applications.

The system, which has 10 university campuses across the state, reportedly received 250,436 applications for the upcoming 2024-25 school year—up 1.5 percent from last year’s applications.

While first-year applications rose slightly—from 206,405 in fall 2023 to 206,893 in 2024—the most significant increase occurred in transfer student applications, which rose 9 percent, to 43,543 in fall 2024.

UC officials said the system is committed to efforts to streamline the transfer process for the state’s community college students.

“We are pleased to see such an outstanding pool of students from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences apply to the University of California,” said UC president Michael Drake in a March 6 press release. “The increase in applications underscores the quality of the educational experience and the long-term social mobility a UC education can provide underrepresented students.”

A new law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October, also establishes a pilot program that prioritizes community college students who complete associate degrees in certain majors for admission to UC campuses.

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The pilot begins at the University of California–Los Angeles, requiring officials to select eight majors eligible for the program by the 2026–27 school year.

Then, it will expand to UC’s other campuses by 2028–29, requiring them to have 12 majors eligible for the program and requiring four to be in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields.

Meanwhile, California State University (CSU), the state’s largest public university system, has been facing an unprecedented decline in enrollment the past several years.

According to the latest data released by CSU, enrollment has dropped by 6 percent since 2019 – resulting in 28,000 fewer students enrolled as of fall 2023.

CSU has 23 university campuses and seven off-campus centers, and enrolled 454,640 students as of fall 2023.

Mr. Newsom pledged in 2023 to give both the UC and CSU systems a 5 percent annual boost in funding for the next five years if they improved graduation and enrollment rates, particularly among California residents.

With the pledged increases, state funding amounted to $216 million for UC and $227 million for CSU for the current fiscal year, which started last July.

However, in January, Mr. Newsom proposed deferring the 2024–25 school year’s increase for both systems because of a projected shortfall in funding for K-12 schools and community colleges.

Mr. Newsom also suggested pulling from the state’s education rainy day fund to meet the minimum obligation in the 2024–25 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, 2025.

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