The number of in-state freshman applications to UC Santa Barbara slightly decreased this year alongside the rest of the University of California system, from 66,630 in 2018 to 65,784 in 2019, according to a report released by the UC Office of the President in January.

Data courtesy of UCOP. Hayley Tice / Daily Nexus

In 2018, the number of freshman applicants across the UC system totaled 181,918 students; in 2019, this number was 176,530, representing a decline of roughly three percent, according to statistics released by the UC on Jan. 31.

Taking into account total applicants, including transfers, the UC system received 217,650 applications for the 2019-2020 academic year.

UC saw a 3.4 percent decrease among in-state applicants and smaller decreases of 1.7 percent and 2.7 percent among out-of-state applicants and international students, respectively.

These stats present a stark contrast to previous years, which showed a steadily increasing number of applicants across the UC system since the 2016 application period, according to the report.  

Despite the decrease seen in freshman applicants, there was an increase of about one percent among California community college students. Of all the transfer applicants, those from a California community college comprised an overwhelming majority of 35,178 applicants.

Despite a system-wide decline in applicants, UC Santa Barbara received more total applications for Fall Quarter 2019 than it has in years prior, receiving a total of 93,423 applicants compared to 92,294 last year.

Data courtesy of UCOP. Hayley Tice / Daily Nexus

According to Lisa Przekop, director of admissions at UCSB, there may be several reasons for the decline of in-state applicants.

“[It is] impossible to pinpoint a single cause for these variations,” she said in an email.

Przekop cited fluctuations in high school graduation rates, the fact that more tuition scholarships are being offered by community colleges and also that many prospective applicants may have been affected by wildfires that broke out in northern and southern California in mid-November.

“Students whose families were affected by the California wildfires may have elected to stay closer to home,” Przekop said.

Przekop also hypothesized that some students, aware of the increasing selectivity of UC schools, may have been “more discriminating about where they apply.”

Among applications, those from underrepresented groups rose to comprise 44.4 percent of all freshman applications, compared to 43.9 percent last year. For freshman applicants, those considered low-income increased to 42 percent of all freshman applications from 40 percent in 2018.

Although freshman applications to UCSB declined this year, Przekop is optimistic for the class of 2023.

“The academic profile of the applicant pool is strong, and coupled with the fact that we still have 112,000 freshman and transfer applicants, we are confident in our ability to enroll an outstanding class for 2019,” Przekop said.

Sean Crommelin is a reporter for the Daily Nexus and can be reached at 


Sean Crommelin
Sean Crommelin is the Science and Tech Editor for the Daily Nexus. He can be reached at