A record number of applications from prospective freshmen and transfer students poured in to UCSB for the 2005-06 school year, despite an overall decrease in applications to the University of California system.

Data from the UC Central Application Processing Report said UCSB received 45,997 applications for the fall 2005 class – up from last year by 689 freshman applicants and 217 transfer student applicants. The number of undergraduate applications increased by 1.6 percent from 2004-05 to 2005-06, a record for undergraduate applications at UCSB. The university saw an increase of 3.5 percent from 2003-04 to 2005-06, the report said.

The 2005-06 UCSB freshman applicant pool also set university records for having the highest GPAs and test scores, and for being the most racially and ethnically diverse. The UC Office of the President said 49.5 percent of prospective UCSB freshmen are of an ethnic or racial minority.

Lisa Przekop, UCSB associate director of admissions, said the Office of Admissions was able to maintain its recruitment standards this year despite state budget cuts.

“We have had to stretch the dollar a lot further,” Przekop said. “We are not visiting as many schools and we are not printing as much material as in years before.”

Betty Huff, UCSB assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, said recruitment has been made cheaper and easier thanks in part to technology.

“Our improved school website was able to tell prospective students more about the campus,” Huff said. “Due to budget cuts, we were not about to do as much face-to-face recruitment; we had to rely on technology, like our website, to do it for us.”

Overall, the number of freshman applications to the UC has decreased by 1 percent from 2003-04 to 2005-06, the report said. The report said UC San Diego has experienced a 6.2 percent decrease in applications from 2003-04 to 2005-06, while UCLA has had a 5 percent decrease over the same time period. Despite these decreases, UCSD and UCLA still receive the largest number of applications, the report said.

Ravi Poorsina, UC Office of the President spokeswoman, said better academic preparation by high schools contributed to UCSB’s increase in applicants.

Przekop said the Office of Admissions expected a higher number of applicants this year because many high school senior classes in California have unusually large populations this year. She said a record number – about 12,000 – of prospective students visited the university.

Huff said the positive publicity associated with the university’s two newest Nobel laureates – physics professor David Gross and economics professor Finn Kydland – may have contributed to the increase in applications.

The report said guaranteed admission was offered to 14.5 percent of the prospective freshman applicants because they were listed in the top 4 percent of their high school class. The average Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) I score of UCSB applicants jumped 10 points from 1176 to 1186 this year, and SAT II scores also increased compared to last year, the report said.

Transfer applications to the university rose from 7,149 to 8,523 over a three-year period, according to the report.

The UCSB Office of Public Affairs said the university has a target of enrolling 1,555 transfer students and 4,025 new undergraduates.

Przekop said more transfer students applied because the university has been more proactive in publicizing information for prospective students at community colleges. She also said the guaranteed admission policy is becoming more widely known among prospective transfer students.

“Knowing that there is guaranteed admission for students who qualify for the transfer priority programs is a key motivator for these students,” Przekop said.