The UC system saw a 19.1 percent increase in freshman applications and a systemwide 4.2 percent decrease in transfer applicants for Fall 2012.

The UCSB Office of Admissions collected 68,331 applications, up 7.9 percent from last year. The UC received 160,939 total submissions, with UC Merced being the sole campus to see a rise in transfer applicants.

Prospective first-year students at UCSB increased by 11.8 percent, while transfers decreased by 5.3 percent. Additionally, 43.4 percent of the entire system’s prospective freshmen applied to join the ranks as Gauchos.

According to UC Office of the President Media Specialist Dianne Klein, budget cuts impacted community college students’ access to courses required for graduation and subsequently affected this year’s transfer application statistics.

“Despite the drop, however, our transfer numbers are still up from two years ago,” Klein said.

The largest increase was among out-of-state applicants, whose numbers rose nearly 77 percent at UCSB and 56 percent for the system overall. Additionally, applications from international students swelled 102 percent from last year.

Klein said the upward trend suggests potential undergraduates still consider UC campuses more affordable than private universities.

“What it clearly shows, however, is that students and their families recognize the excellence, and the comparative bargain, of a UC education,” Klein said.

The average GPA for prospective freshmen at UCSB weighed in at 3.72.

Prospective freshman Yessenia Pitones, a Bell Gardens High School senior, said the influx reflects the institution’s positive reputation and a larger pool of eligible applicants.

“I think that the increase of applications submitted demonstrates [not only] that students understand the quality of education that a UC can provide, but also the increased competitiveness that high school students demonstrate,” Pitones said.

Although UCSB will not finish its final admissions decisions until spring, the administration plans to enroll roughly 4,350 freshmen and 1,650 transfer students for Fall 2012, slightly more than last year.