Over 85,000 prospective students applied for the next academic year, with 18,420 students applying from outside of CA or the U.S.

UCSB continues to attract more and more nternational students — even more than out-of-state hopefuls — as well as the most applications from African-American students out of the entire UC campus system.  Stephen Manga/Daily Nexus

UCSB continues to attract more and more international students — even more than out-of-state hopefuls — as well as the most applications from African-American students out of the entire UC campus system. Stephen Manga/Daily Nexus

UCSB recorded its highest number of student applicants ever for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year this past Monday.

In a statement released by the UC Office of the President (UCOP) on Monday, UCSB received 85,208 total applications, 70,532 of which were freshman applicants and 14,676 of which were transfer students. 52,112 of the applications were from California residents and the remainder from non-resident students. UCSB also ranked second highest in the UC system for most African-American student applications.

According to Senior Associate Dean for Enrollment Services Mary Jacob, the university’s 85,208 applications reflect a larger amount of non-California applicants than ever before, with 18,420 of the applications coming from out-of-state and international students.

“We continue to attract students from outside California, from other states in the United States,  and even from other countries abroad,” Jacob said. “There’s interest outside of California from people who would like to study here and study specifically at UCSB.”

Jacob said 10,930 of the non-California applications were from international students, exceeding the 7,490 out-of-state applications. She said this is due to the U.S.’s greater availability of higher education in comparison to universities and colleges abroad which tend to be more competitive.

“American students, no matter where they are, have a range of choices of good quality universities to apply to in the same country, and that may not always be the case for other countries,” Jacob said. “It’s too competitive for them to go to the really good universities in their home country, so they look to study abroad in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia or Canada if they’re looking to go to an English-speaking country.”

UCOP spokesperson Shelly Meron said despite California residents’ criticism of UCOP for increasing acceptance of non-Californians, these acceptances are financially necessary as higher out-of-state tuition will allow the UC to provide funding for resident students amidst recent state budget cuts.

“Admitting non-resident students helps UC subsidize California students and make up for some of the significant cuts in state funding the university has experienced in the last few years,” Meron said. “It’s also important to note that non-resident students are not taking the place of California students at UC; these are separate enrollment targets.”

Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships Michael M. Miller said the amount of financial aid students receive will not be affected significantly by the larger pool of applicants, as the university will continue to enroll a consistent number of students to allow the university to properly fund them.

“The campus is really good about hitting all our enrollment targets,” Miller said. “So while enrollment may fluctuate by a couple hundred students here or there, for the most part we know how many students we’re going to have and we can effectively fund them with financial aid. It’s not that big of a deal for financial aid.”

According to Director of Admissions Lisa Przekop, the increasing number of applicants allows the university to select more academically adept students, leading to an increase in the value of a UCSB degree in the job and graduate school market.

“The academic prestige of the campus will continue to rise high and you’ll see more high-achieving students in our classrooms,” Przekop said. “It means the value of your UCSB degree will continue to rise as you begin your career and/or apply to graduate programs.”

Przekop said the only downside accompanying the increase in applicants is that the university will have to deny more students.

“Competition for admission to UCSB will increase,” Przekop said. “Unfortunately, excellent applicants will be denied admission. It never feels good to deny access to wonderful applicants.”

According to Przekop, the increase in applications can be attributed to the university’s growing public relations efforts, including an increased social media presence, a recently added virtual campus tour to the admissions website and the presence of more visits from California high schools and community colleges than in the previous year.

“We have been more visible and active in our California outreach efforts,” Przekop said. “This fall we visited approximately 100 more schools in California than last year.”

Przekop said the greater number of applicants can also be accredited to the university’s recognition worldwide, helped in part by recent Nobel Prize for Physics recipient Shuji Nakamura.

“UCSB is recognized by top student scholars as a world-class university,” Przekop said. “We have a new Nobel Prize winner, which certainly drew global attention.”

Chancellor Henry T. Yang said he attributes the record amount of applications to the university’s highly ranked education, prominent diversity, effective research and faculty.

“This year’s record number of applications is a testament to UC Santa Barbara’s stature as a world leader in academic excellence and diversity, cutting-edge research and innovative teaching,” Yang said. “We are proud to be a campus of choice for talented and high-achieving students with diverse backgrounds who enrich our community.”


A version of this story appeared on page 4 of Thursday, January 15, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.