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The coronavirus pandemic has led to a good news, bad news college application season, as the University of California drew a record number of applicants for fall 2021 while California State University tumbled — a disparity reflected nationally by robust growth at many selective institutions and struggles at less resourced ones.

Applications to UC’s nine undergraduate campuses soared to a record 250,000 — a 15% increase over last year, including significant rises among California Latino and Black freshmen applicants, according to preliminary data disclosed by UC President Michael V. Drake in a meeting this week with The Times editorial board. Campus-specific data will not be released until early next year.

“For all the challenges and all of the noise about is [college] worth it, we see more people looking to the University of California as a pathway to their future than ever before,” Drake said.

At Cal State, however, applications declined by 5% with wide variation among the system’s 23 campuses. Cal State Dominguez Hills, which primarily serves disadvantaged students, saw a 17% plunge in applications. But they increased by 4% at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the most selective campus with fewer students who are underrepresented minorities, low income or the first in their families to attend college.

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Correction: A previous headline on this post conflated applications with enrollment. This post has been updated.