A troubling undercurrent belies the University of California’s celebratory news that it has admitted the largest and most diverse class ever for fall 2021: There are not enough seats for qualified students at most campuses, a worsening capacity crisis that threatens to break the California promise of a UC education for them.
The space crunch is projected to intensify in the coming years just as the state needs more skilled talent, prompting the new UC Board of Regents chair to announce last week that increasing student enrollment would be one of the board’s top priorities.
UC admitted 132,353 freshman applicants for this fall, an 11% increase over last year. But it was harder to get in at seven of the nine undergraduate campuses compared with last year. More than 71,000 freshman applicants were denied admission, including nearly 44,000 Californians, the overwhelming majority of them eligible for UC admission if past trends are a guide.
The admission rates for California freshman applicants fell to a systemwide average of 65.7%, compared with 70.5% last year and, over a longer horizon, 83.5% in 1995.
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