If you think UC Davis is more crowded than ever this year, then you would be right. Davis currently has the largest student body in the university’s history.
This fall 32,290 students are registered at UC Davis, a 0.4 percent increase from last fall’s 32,153.
Of those 32,290 students, 2,756 are transfers. The 24.2 percent increase from last fall’s 2,219 transfer students reflects the success of recent efforts by UC Davis to boost transfers from California community colleges, said Frank Wada, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions and university registrar, in a press release.
“The increase is significant since it validates the recent trend where a growing number of students are attending California community colleges first, and then deciding to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue their baccalaureate degree,” Wada said in an e-mail interview.
The majority of transfer students admitted this fall did exactly that.
“Students who may have some financial difficulty or are not sure what to major in or are just not sure if they should go to a four-year right away decide that the community college is great, especially with the guarantee transfer,” said Richard Yang, Interim Transfer Center director at Sacramento City College (SCC).
All UC campuses, except for Berkeley and Los Angeles, offer a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program. TAG ensures all students who have 45 UC-transferable units and a minimum GPA of 2.80-3.10, depending on intended major, admission to a UC campus.
In addition, Davis provides a transfer adviser for regional community colleges through the Transfer Opportunity Program. Pam Blanco, the Davis representative for the Los Rios Community College District, visits SCC once a week and holds financial aid workshops and appointments for students who wish to transfer to Davis.
“Our contact with Davis specifically is very good,” Yang said.
The UC system collectively increased the number of transfer students for fall 2010.
“(The increase) has been extremely beneficial for students seeking transfer to a UC campus since many other in-state transfer opportunities were decreased during the same period,” Wada said.
Students who plan to transfer to a UC campus next fall are currently undergoing the application process. Nov. 30 is the last day to submit applications.
David Rincon is a prospective transfer student for Davis next fall. He decided to attend Fresno City before transferring to a UC campus.
“Community college saves money. I can finish my G.E. requirements and also get an associative science two-year degree while I’m at it,” he said.
Even though community college transfer students receive priority admission, thanks to TAG, some of the transfer students come from other institutions.
Transfer students from private universities and other UC campuses make up a small portion of the transfer student enrollment. This fall only 84 students – about 3 percent of all transfer students – came to UC Davis from other UC campuses.
However, transfer students aren’t the only new students added to the campus this year.
Despite the increase in tuition this fall, UC Davis admitted 4,501 new first-years compared to last year’s 4,412. This class is not only larger, but has a higher average GPA of 3.86 compared with last year’s 3.85.
“Our campus goal was to enroll the same number of students in fall 2010 as we did in fall 2009, so we admitted roughly the same number of students,” Wada said. “The enrollment figure this fall 2010 was a reflection of more students accepting our offers of admission than in the past.”
The size of next year’s incoming first-year class is still up in the air as the application deadline for both first-years and transfer students quickly approaches.
“Although our admission criteria and process for the upcoming fall 2011 cycle will be the same as this fall 2010 cycle, it is possible that we could experience fewer [first-year] students admitted if we are asked in the coming months to change our first-year enrollment target,” Wada said.
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.