Despite the university’s attempts to lower admission rates, a record number of freshmen will make their way to UCSB this fall.

Out of an applicant pool of 44,673 students, 21,054 high school seniors were granted admission to UCSB for the 2009-10 school year. Although UCSB handed out fewer offers than in past years, an unprecedented 4,871 admitted students have decided to join the class of 2013. However, Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson said the actual number of students who enroll is projected to be slightly less, and the Office of Public Affairs noted that the final count will not be known until a few weeks into fall quarter.

According to Van Gieson, the nearly 4,900 Statements of Intent to Register her office has received blew past original estimations and it is expected that between 4,400 and 4,500 first-year students will ultimately be on campus next year. What her office had previously anticipated, she said, was for about 4,100 first-year students to enroll for the upcoming school year.

The response this year was unprecedented, Van Gieson said.

“We made 1,650 fewer admission offers than a year ago in order to enroll a smaller class in the fall,” Van Gieson said in a press release. “But we received 275 more [SIRs] than last year – a change in yield from 20 percent in 2008 to 23 percent this year.”

This year’s freshman class is not only larger, but also more diverse than last year’s. According to the Office of Admissions, the number of admitted underrepresented minority students – African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos and Latinos – has increased from 1,396 to 1,463 and will account for 30 percent of the new class.

The freshman class of 2009 also boasts higher academic marks than its 2008 counterpart. A representative from the Office of Admissions said the average S.A.T. score for this year’s class is 1803 – up 21 points from last year – while the grade point average increased from 3.84 to 3.85.

Additionally, 6,423 transfer applicants were offered admission to UCSB – 347 more than last year, Van Gieson said. UCSB expects to enroll 1,800 of those transfer students, about 200 more than enrolled in 2008.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux said the total student population will increase by 300 to 400 students. This influx of new Gauchos will affect class sizes and living situations, he said, but not significantly.

“Class sizes are expected to increase incrementally, from an average of 44 students each to 46 students – an average that combines all types of classes,” Desruisseaux said.

Moreover, Desruisseaux said Housing and Residential Services reports that more students will be “tripled up” this year in dorm rooms that will hold three students as opposed to two.

“[The dorms] had 200 triple units last year and this coming year we’ll see about 150 more than that,” Desruisseaux said. “UCSB guarantees all incoming freshmen the opportunity to live in university housing, so we always reserve the right to triple up residents. Housing and Residential Services, which also manages the dining commons, is prepared to deal with the higher number of incoming students.”

Despite the highly publicized budget cuts facing UCSB and the University of California as a whole, Desruisseaux said the quality of student services is not anticipated to diminish.

“Our campus has a Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy – which Chancellor Yang established to represent the faculty, students and staff – and the budget planning principles that guide its work make it clear that UCSB will do all in its ability to protect the quality of the instructional program and to ensure that any budget reductions cause minimal disruption to student academic programs,” Desruisseaux said.

With the fate of the Cal Grant program still uncertain, the Financial Aid Office is unsure whether monetary aid will be cut.

However, Desruisseaux said the increase in students won’t hurt the aid program.

“The presence at UCSB of a few hundred more students than originally expected should not affect the aid program since mandatory fees generate some financial aid funds,” Desruisseaux said. “But there will probably be longer lines at Financial Aid [and] the Registrar’s Office.”