The UC released its undergraduate freshman admission rates and statistics for the 2023-24 academic year, revealing a record number of California undergraduate freshmen and the largest class of underrepresented freshmen ever admitted.
Announced in a press release from the UC Office of the President, 88,285 California residents were admitted as freshmen for this upcoming academic year — an increase of 3.5% from fall 2022 admissions numbers. In total, the UC accepted 129,685 freshmen and 27,761 transfer students, totaling 157,446 students admitted into its undergraduate body.
“These numbers demonstrate the continued interest undergraduate students have in attending a UC campus and their recognition of the benefits of a UC education in supporting their economic mobility,” a UC Office of the President (UCOP) press release read.
The fall 2023 freshmen undergraduate class is the largest number of underrepresented students in UC history, the press release claimed. Of the admitted class, 37.6% are Chicanx/Latinx, 0.7% are American Indigenous, 5.5% are Black, 34.2% are Asian American and 19.1% are white. UCOP noted admission offers for American Indigenous students increased by 11.6% over 2022.
Regarding data of socioeconomic status, admitted undergraduates “remained relatively flat compared to 2022 admission data,” according to the press release.
In comparison, 38% of UCSB’s fall 2023 freshmen class are from underrepresented groups. Of the admitted class under UCSB’s classified categories, 37% are Asian American, 32% are Chicanx/Latinx, 5% are Black and 1% are American indigenous. 4% of the class declined to state their race and ethnicity.
The UC saw progress in increasing American Indigenous student admissions — historically and currently the lowest percentage of the underrepresented admitted student body — from enacting the Native American Opportunity Plan in 2022, which covers in-state tuition and Student Services fees for eligible students.
To be eligible for the program, students must be a current or newly admitted UC undergraduate or graduate student who is a California resident and is enrolled in a federally recognized Native American, American Indian and/or Alaska Native tribe. The press release stated that this increased American Indigenous admissions offers by 11.6% over 2022.
The Nexus inquired the University on what steps they’ll be taking toward Black student admission and retention, as this percentage is historically and currently the second lowest of the underrepresented student population for the UC and UCSB. UCSB was unable to provide a direct statement on this matter.
The UC maintains a summary of undergraduate admissions data from 2014 to 2022 academic years, tracking percentages of each underrepresented group admitted from the entire admitted student population.
Black and American Indigenous admission rates have remained largely flat at UCSB, with Black student admissions staying at 3% from 2014 to 2016, increasing to 4% in 2017, declining to 3% in 2018 and increasing again to 4% in 2021 onwards. American Indigenous admissions remained at 1% from 2014 to 2018, declined to 0% in 2019 and increased again to 1% in 2022.
In contrast, Asian admissions have been between 30% to 34% from 2014 to 2022, increasing and declining by 4% interchangeably between 2019 and 2022. Hispanic admissions experienced a decline from 20% to 18% between 2014 and 2020, then increased up to 23% from 2021 onward. White admissions largely declined over this time span, from 31% in 2014 to 22% in 2022.
UCSB Director of Admission Lisa Przekop noted that because ethnic and gender information is blocked from the view of UCSB admission officers, UCSB Admissions has focused its growth in ethnic diversity to maintain a diverse applicant pool through outreach strategies.
Przekop said some of UCSB Admissions’ outreach efforts toward increasing the diversity of its student population include visiting over 1,000 high schools and community colleges annually, bringing schools from low-income areas of Los Angeles to UCSB’s campus, outreach to non-profit organizations and peer advising.
“Changing the demographics of a major university like UC Santa Barbara does not happen overnight,” she said in a statement to the Nexus. “Admissions has dedicated outreach resources for many years that have allowed us to reach HSI status and to continue to grow the campus diversity.
“Diversity does not just mean ethnic diversity. We are strategic in also trying to reach different parts of the state including rural areas and will continue these efforts moving forward.”
There also was an increase of domestic nonresidents by 3.9% and of international students by 1%. Overall, domestic nonresident admissions declined by 19% and international student admissions declined by 12.2% between 2021 and 2022.
“While the overall applicant pool dropped slightly this year due to a small decline in non-resident applicants, our pool of California applicants actually grew so we had more outstanding California students in the pool to fill our class,” Przekop said. “Again, long-term outreach strategies have maintained a strong California applicant pool.”
Cumulatively, the number of freshman admits from underrepresented groups increased by 4%, or by 1,494 students, in comparison to 2022.
“We accepted more freshmen because the transfer applicant pool was slightly lower therefore our overall enrollment targets shifted. We’re also seeing students apply to more campuses so we may have fewer admitted students actually accepting our offer because they have so many choices,” she said in the statement. “Lastly, as our more competitive sister campuses UCLA, Berkeley and UC San Diego admit more students, that will result in UC Santa Barbara taking more students off our waitlists — our models have to account for these changes.”
A version of this article appeared on p. 7 of the August 24, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.