Students walk along the student center terrace during the first day of fall classes on the UCI campus.
A record 133,875 students applied for fall admission to UCI this year, an increase of 50.8 percent since 2015. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 28, 2021 — The University of California, Irvine has received nearly 134,000 applications for fall 2021, setting a new record and solidifying its position as one of the most desired schools in the country.

A total of 107,939 aspiring freshmen applied for fall admittance to UCI, an increase of more than 10,000 from last year. Another 25,936 applications came from transfer students, the second-highest number among UC campuses.

Additionally, the Irvine campus was the top UC choice for in-state, first-generation students for the third consecutive year, with 47 percent of its California-resident applications coming from students who will be the first in their families to attend college. Further, UCI was No. 2 in the UC system for in-state applications from both underrepresented minorities and low-income families.

“The word is out: UCI is a place that welcomes and supports our state’s very best students, regardless of their economic circumstances, and provides them with an outstanding college experience and lifelong opportunities,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Students and their families choose UCI because our wonderful faculty and staff are committed to ensuring that our students get a great education in a nurturing and friendly environment.”

Since 2015, overall applications to UCI have increased by 50.8 percent. A diverse group of 133,875 students, both incoming freshmen and transfers, made up this year’s history-making applications pool – up 11,665 from last year, setting a campus record and in the unusual context of a global pandemic. This placed UCI fourth in the UC system for total applications, which also include out-of-state and international student bids.

In addition to receiving the second-most applications of all UC campuses from first-year, underrepresented-minority California residents (32,528), UCI was the top in-state choice for Asian Americans (30,374), second for Chicanos/Latinos (27,713) and third for African Americans (4,366) – all more than last year.

UCI, which aspires to be a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence, has been federally designated as both a Hispanic-serving institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution. In August 2020, the campus launched the Black Thriving Initiative – a whole-university approach to creating a culture in which Black people thrive, in part by linking UCI’s success with that of Black communities on and off campus.

Providing student support

In indicators of short- and long-term affordability, UCI continually excels. Some 11,500 UCI enrollees received Pell Grants in 2020-21, many of them first-generation students, for whom a university education is a means to upward social mobility. Information on UCI’s commitment to helping individuals achieve the American dream can be found here.

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 has been ranked among the country’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report for the past six years in a row and tops Sierra magazine’s list of the nation’s “Cool Schools” for sustainability.

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

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 Additional resources for journalists may be found at