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University of California opening more seats for in-state students

Students go about their business at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
File photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Students go about their business at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The University of California sent nearly 70,000 offers of admission to California residents for the fall of 2017 – numbers, officials said, that show the university is making progress towards its goal of increasing seats for in-state students. 

UC President Janet Napolitano has set a goal to expand the enrollment of California students by 10,000 students by 2018. This year, officials vowed to enroll 2,500 more in-state students, a goal today's admission numbers put it on-track to meet. 

The goal of admitting more California students comes at a time when admission to UC campuses is getting increasingly competitive, as applications from both in-state and out-of-state students rise. 

“President Napolitano’s initiative to increase California resident enrollment is in direct response to the extraordinary demand, of course, in California, for seats at the University of California,” said Stephen Handel, UC associate vice president of undergraduate admissions.

Nearly all Southern California campuses showed two-year increases in admission offers. U.C. Irvine sent 2,600 more in-state admission letters this year than it did two years ago, and U.C. Riverside sent 2,800 more. UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego also had big two-year jumps.

Those increases are due to funding jumps year-to-year. California’s legislature set aside more money last year to increase the number of slots for in-state students.

UC Irvine said nearly half of the admit offers for freshmen and community college transfer students are to students who are the first in their families to go to college.

The campus wants to “be an engine of social mobility for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or from underrepresented groups,” said U.C. Irvine spokesman Tom Vasich.

But it’s not easy because the rising number of applications to Irvine and other UC campuses is making it much more competitive to get in. This year 111,000 California high school seniors applied to a UC campus. That’s 6 percent more than last year.

And that means that a smaller proportion of those who apply will start their studies at a U.C. campus in the fall.

“We clearly have to get those numbers significantly up and that comes with really thinking about increased capacity and the funding to serve the growing demand for a spot in college,” said Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President with the Campaign for College Opportunity.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story had the incorrect name for Dow's organization. KPCC regrets the error.