With its largest applicant pool ever, the University of California instituted a waitlist for the first time in its history this year, offering more than 10,000 students a spot on the list.
A waitlist is currently in use at seven of the nine UC campuses; only UC Merced and UCLA opted not to use one. The 10,712 waitlisted applicants, who all meet UC eligibility requirements, are automatically granted access to either UC Merced or UC Riverside should they not receive admittance to the other campus of their choice.
The need for a waitlist was spurred by an unprecedented influx of UC applicants — there were a record 100,320 applicants this year — and a system that is overenrolled by more than 15,000 students. The unprecedented budget crisis gripping the University has also complicated the admissions process.
Although UCSB offered over 2,400 applicants a position on its waitlist, nearly half didn’t reserve the spot. The number of hopefuls on UCSB’s waitlist currently sits at 1,275.
Those on the waitlist will only be admitted if fewer accepted students submit their Statement of Intent to Register than anticipated.
“The campuses made their admissions offers assuming that they will hit their target,” UC spokesman Ricardo Vázquez said. “They will only draw from the waitlist if for some reason they do not meet their target.”
Of the 100,320 UC system applicants this year, 68,489 were accepted, including the 10,712 waitlisted applicants.
The percentage of in-state applicants accepted, however, has declined in the last two years. Of the 82,056 California residents that applied, 86 percent were admitted. This number is nearly 3 percent lower than it was in 2008.
While the acceptance rate of California residents has declined, the percentage of out-of-state applicants admitted increased by 20 percent last year. According to a report from the UC Newsroom, this increase can be attributed to a UC decision to offer more admissions to non-California applicants, who on average pay $22,700 more per year than in-state students.
Donna Coyne, associate director of admissions at UCSB, said out-of-state students have value beyond fiscal benefits.
“It’s not just for budget reasons, but also because students from other countries and across this country enhance diversity of the campus,” Coyne said.
Even as the UC admits more out-of-state students, Vázquez said, it continues to struggle with over-enrollment.
“The state has not been able to provide the funding for enrollment growth for the last two years, but we have continued our historic commitment to finding a place for every eligible student,” Vázquez said.
Despite issues with over-enrollment, UC campuses have been able to maintain, and in some cases increase, their racial diversity. Compared with Fall 2009, the number of American Indian acceptances rose 18 percent, with accepted African-American students increasing 5.7 percent and the number of accepted Chican@ and Latin@ students up 6 percent.
On the other hand, while the number of acceptance letters sent to freshmen continues to decrease — down nearly 4,000 compared to Fall 2008 — the number of transfer acceptances has increased. According to Vázquez, the UC system plans to continue to increase the number of students accepted from community colleges around the state by 500 students per year.
“The Office of the President and the Regents want to keep the door open for a variety of students,” Vázquez said. “For some students, the transfer route is a very cost-effective way for getting to the UC, especially in a downturn or recession like we’re experiencing now.”