UCI News

UCI again receives most applications in UC system from state’s high school seniors

Campus is also top choice for first-generation, low-income and minority students

February 4, 2020
UCI again receives most applications in UC system from state’s high school seniors
A record 122,210 students applied to attend UCI this fall, an increase of 37.7 percent since 2015. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 4, 2020 — For the second year in a row, the University of California, Irvine is the most popular UC campus for the state’s college-bound high school seniors.

A total of 72,391 aspiring in-state freshmen applied to attend UCI this fall, up 2,000 from last year and more than applied to any of the other eight UC undergraduate campuses. Additionally, UCI was the top choice for first-generation college students and those from low-income families and underrepresented groups – also for the second consecutive year.

“These outstanding numbers are a testament to our success in advancing our mission,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We exist to provide the best education possible to the people of our state, regardless of their circumstances. I am grateful to the thousands of my UCI colleagues who every day work hard to help fulfill the dreams of our students.”

A diverse group of 122,210 students, both incoming freshmen and transfers, applied to UCI for fall 2020 – up 5,000 from last year and a campus record. This placed UCI second – behind only UCLA ­– for total applications, which also includes out-of-state and international student bids.

Since 2015, overall applications to UCI have increased by 37.7 percent.

In addition to receiving the most applications of all UC campuses from first-year, underrepresented-minority California residents (31,167), UCI topped the UC for the most Chicano/Latino (26,914) and Asian American applicants (27,780) – all more than last year. And almost half of its in-state, first-year applicants (48 percent) were first-generation students.

UCI was second among UC campuses for African American applications (3,789) and community college transfer applications (24,294, up 5,000 from last year), with the second-largest number of the latter from underrepresented groups.

Providing student support

In indicators of short- and long-term affordability, UCI continually excels. The campus provided need-based grants to nearly two-thirds of its students. Nearly 12,000 UCI enrollees received Pell Grants in 2019-20, and the campus is a national leader for graduating Pell students. The majority of them were first-generation students, for whom a university education is a means to upward social mobility.

Later this month, a report from the American Talent Initiative – an alliance of more than 100 of the nation’s best universities dedicated to increasing the enrollment of talented low- and moderate-income students – will show that among ATI participants, UCI has among the highest numbers of federal Pell Grant recipients (who come from lower-income families), Pell Grant student retention rates and Pell Grant student graduation rates. In ATI’s three years of existence, UCI has repeatedly fared well against its peer group, which comprises 18 universities across the nation.

Overall, UCI has been recognized as one of the best public universities in the U.S. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, it is ranked in the top 10 among the nation’s public universities by U.S. News & World Report, has been named the No. 1 college in the country by Money magazine, and tops Sierra magazine’s list of the nation’s “Cool Schools” for sustainability. In addition, Forbes ranks UCI No. 1 among America’s public universities for best value, and the campus has twice topped The New York Times’ College Access Index of U.S. universities “doing the most for the American dream.” More information on UCI’s commitment to upward mobility can be found here.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.