Getting into the University of California just got even more competitive: The system announced on Monday that it received a record number of applications for the 12th consecutive year, topping 200,000 for the first time.
Among the 206,339 students who applied to at least one of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses for admission in fall 2016, 166,380 are freshman and 39,959 are transfers.
The increase was once again driven largely by a surge in nonresidents. While 4.4 percent more Californians sought admission than last year, the number of applications was up by 10.9 percent among out-of-state students and 10.6 percent among international students.
As UC was pushed to look for alternative sources of revenue during the deep budget cuts of the economic recession, recruiting higher-paying nonresident students became a popular practice for campuses. Many continue to see tremendous benefits: The number of international freshman applicants grew by more than a fifth at Santa Cruz, Irvine, Santa Barbara and Davis this year.
UCLA remained the most popular campus overall, jumping by almost 6 percent to 119,326 freshman and transfer applications. But for the first time in five years, San Diego surpassed Berkeley, drawing 102,692 applications to Berkeley’s 101,655.
Four campuses saw increases of more than 10 percent in total applications, including Santa Barbara, Irvine and Riverside. Merced led the way with a 13.5 percent bump, though its 22,632 applicants are still less than half of what any other UC school receives.
At Davis, the total number of applications grew by 7.6 percent to 86,041, of whom 68,519 were freshman and 17,522 were transfers. The largest gains came from about 3,000 additional out-of-state and international freshman applicants, as well as 1,756 more California students seeking transfer admission.
The good news for California applicants? UC has already promised to add 5,000 new slots for resident students next year, though it has not yet specified how many each campus will take.