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  • Writer's pictureDina

Upcoming Enrollment Expansion at University of California

The University of California announced an enrollment expansion plan last October, attracting widespread attention. So how will University of California be expanding enrollment, exactly? In an article published this July by the University of California Newsroom, UC leaders presented the UC 2030 Capacity Plan, an ambitious plan to expand enrollment by thousands of students.

(Source: UC Newsroom)

Freshmen, Transfer Students, and Graduate Students

The plan mentions that over the next eight years (through 2030), the university will expand its enrollment by 23,000 students, including freshmen, transfer students and graduate students, an increase almost equivalent to the number of a single campus.

The expansion plan won’t be evenly distributed across campuses. Five campuses — Berkeley, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside and San Diego — will increase enrollment by 2,500 to 5,000 students. Meanwhile, enrollments at the Santa Barbara and Irvine campuses are expected to increase by less than 1,000.

UC Riverside, UC Riverside and UC Merced, UC Merced, plan to expand enrollment by building new infrastructure such as new campus buildings, laboratories, and dormitories.

UC Merced's enrollment will increase by 3,723 students by 2030, bringing its total enrollment to about 13,000 students, according to UC's projections. To make this happen, UC Merced will recruit more transfer students. The campus program is targeting 14 community colleges in the Central Valley and working with them to create new transfer paths for community college students.

Overall, University of California and California Community Colleges are also considering improving transfer channels at a larger scale. On the one hand, this will allow more community college students to complete their educational goals. On the other hand, this arrangement will help University of California implement its enrollment expansion plan.

UC plans to accommodate 2,691 more students at UC Riverside by 2030, bringing its total enrollment to nearly 30,000. UC Riverside's plans include expanding dual enrollment programs with local high schools; expanding graduate enrollment by nearly 900 students; and developing a program that would allow high school students to automatically enroll in nearby community colleges, from where they may then transfer to UC Riverside.

The plans of other campuses are more complex. The three campuses, including UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego plan to reduce the number of out-of-state students to expand in-state enrollment by a quarter.

Expanding Online Course Offering and Summer School

In addition to everything above, UC is also preparing to expand enrollment through "non-traditional growth strategies," including online and summer programs, since several campuses within the UC system have limited capacity. The report said UC will need additional state funding to ensure the quality of these new online courses.

At UC Santa Cruz, enrollment is expected to increase by 1,653 students, while there are “spatial constraints” to the campus, such as insufficient housing and classrooms. As a result, campuses are working to create more online degree programs. By 2023, it plans to launch a new online bachelor's degree program in Creative Technologies. The campus is planning to develop 3 to 5 fully or partially online undergraduate or master's programs by 2030, which could add 500 to 1,000 undergraduate students.

UC Irvine, one of UC's most competitive campuses, plans to expand its online programs by 20% in fall, winter, spring and 50% in the summer by 2030. Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego also plan to expand online services.

Another path for the University of California to expand enrollment is to expand the scale of summer courses, and it is proposed that 15% of the expansion target will be achieved through expanding summer programs. Adding and improving summer programs is key to helping saving students who are struggling academically from “falling out.”

For example, UC Santa Barbara is planning to develop more summer bridging programs aimed at helping freshmen and sophomores on academic probation. UC Berkeley also plans to expand summer pathway programs to help students finish their degrees on time.

Enrollment Expansion at Other Universities

In addition to University of California, in recent years, other universities have also been expanding their enrollment.

Starting this fall, Princeton University plans to expand its undergraduate enrollment. The university is recruiting more faculty members and building new infrastructure to provide accommodation space for 1,000 undergraduates, which means that the school can recruit 125 more people each year.

In addition, Princeton University has also enrolled more transfer students. Undergraduate transfer students increased from 40 to 100; the number of transfer students admitted each year will increase from the current level of 10-25 to 25-35.


The expansion of Stanford's undergraduate enrollment has been the university's top priority, but it has not yet been realized due to dormitory space and other constraints. In November 2021, Stanford University announced that the school has raised $1.67 billion to invest in school infrastructure construction and plans to expand undergraduate enrollment by 25%.

(Source: The Stanford Daily)

Rice University has seen an increase of about 75% in applications over the past four years. Last April, the university announced that it would expand undergraduate enrollment by 20%. The university currently has around 4,000 undergraduate students and more than 3,500 graduate students. According to the university’s plan, its undergraduate enrollment will reach 4,800 over the next four years, and postgraduate enrollment will increase as well.

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