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UC system admits largest, most diverse undergraduate class

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California admitted its largest and most diverse undergraduate class ever after receiving a record number of applications, officials announced.

The university system’s nine undergraduate campuses accepted 132,353 prospective freshmen, an increase of 11% over last year, officials said in a statement Monday.

Admission of California freshmen reached an all-time high with 84,223 students and 36,462 of them, or 43%, are students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Latinos were the largest group admitted for the second year in a row, making up 37%. Asian Americans made up 34%, white students 20% and Black students 5%. The rest were American Indians, Pacific Islanders or those who declined to state their race or ethnicity, officials said.

“These remarkable numbers are a testament to the hard work and resiliency of students and their families across California,” said President Michael V. Drake. “I am particularly heartened by the social and economic diversity of those offered a place at UC. Fall will be an exciting time on our campuses.”

Nearly 204,000 prospective freshmen applied for at least one UC school for fall 2021 during the application period that ended Dec. 4 for most campuses. That was an 18% increase over last year.

The increase in freshmen applications may be due in part because more were encouraged to apply after the end of UC’s standardized testing requirement. Also, the university system temporarily suspended the letter-grade requirement for high school classes taken in winter, spring or summer terms of 2020 and the full 2020–21 academic year because of the pandemic.

“UC hoped these changes would further support students who faced barriers during a challenging year marked by canceled classes and schools that switched to pass/fail grading,” officials said.

The campuses also admitted 30,883 transfer applicants, an all-time record high. Of those students, 53% will be the first in their families to earn a four-year college degree, according to figures released by the university system.

UC campuses are working toward a goal of enrolling one new California resident transfer student for every two new in-state freshmen. As part of those efforts, some UC campuses reached out to community colleges in their area to seek out transfer students.

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