UC system admits record number of transfers; UC Berkeley admits fewer than last year

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Mary Zheng/File

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UC admissions data for the 2018-19 school year, released Wednesday, reflects a record number of acceptances extended to transfer students, with an 8 percent increase from last year.

Out of the 137,000 students accepted into the nine undergraduate UC campuses, about 28,750 were transfers, reflecting the UC’s goal to enroll one new California resident transfer student for every two new California resident freshmen. At UC Berkeley, however, only 4,487 of the 19,215 transfer applicants were admitted, which is 132 fewer than in 2017, according to a UC Berkeley press release, and officials estimate that only 2,417 will actually enroll — 300 fewer than in 2017.

According to Gurwant Khabra, a public health peer advocate at the campus’s Transfer Student Center, the increase in transfers throughout the UC will be positive for the system because it will introduce different life experiences into the UC community. Hannah McCarthy, an anthropology peer advocate at the UC Berkeley Transfer Student Center, agreed.

“Many (transfer students) have worked part or full time during community college, some have raised families, taken extended breaks from college, switched career or major fields multiple times, and experienced intense hardships all before starting their journey at Cal,” McCarthy said in an email. “This brings really important and unique perspectives to the campus.”

According to the campus press release, about 94 percent of the admitted students came from the California Community Colleges system, or CCC.

The UC began efforts to increase transfer student enrollment in 1996 and has seen increases between 2013 and 2017, according to a 2018 memorandum between UC and CCC.

According to the UC website, six UC campuses have specific transfer admission guarantee programs, along with a UC-wide Transfer Pathways program that informs community college students on which classes to take to enter one of 21 popular majors.

“We continue to build partnerships with our colleagues at the California Community colleges as well as partnerships with campus and community organizations who support transfer students,” said UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

The UC also launched an initiative to guarantee transfer admission to CCC students who meet a certain, yet undetermined, standard. According to a UC press release, this program is slated to begin fall 2019, and will include summer experience and summer bridge programs to help initiate transfer students.

While noting that the campus has and continues to make progress in enrolling a greater number of transfer students, McCarthy added in an email that the discrepancy between admitted and enrolled transfer students at UC Berkeley is likely due to the high cost of living in Berkeley and the lack of guaranteed housing.

“I think it is important to bring the transfer student experience to every department here on campus, and on any college campus, so that the needs of (transfer students) can be uniquely and better served,” McCarthy said in an email.

Contact Alexandra Reinecke at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @arhine9.