Campus was also top choice for in-state, first-generation students for 3rd consecutive year

UCI received nearly 134,000 applications for fall 2021, setting a new record and solidifying its position as one of the most desired schools in the country.

A total of 107,939 aspiring freshmen applied for fall admittance to UCI, an increase of more than 10,000 from last year. Another 25,936 applications came from transfer students, the second-highest number among UC campuses.

Additionally, the Irvine campus was the top UC choice for in-state, first-generation students for the third consecutive year, with 47 percent of its California-resident applications coming from students who will be the first in their families to attend college. Further, UCI was No. 2 in the UC system for in-state applications from both underrepresented minorities and low-income families.

“The word is out: UCI is a place that welcomes and supports our state’s very best students, regardless of their economic circumstances, and provides them with an outstanding college experience and lifelong opportunities,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Students and their families choose UCI because our wonderful faculty and staff are committed to ensuring that our students get a great education in a nurturing and friendly environment."

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Since 2015, overall applications to UCI have increased by 50.8 percent. A diverse group of 133,875 students, both incoming freshmen and transfers, made up this year’s history-making applications pool – up 11,665 from last year, setting a campus record and in the unusual context of a global pandemic. This placed UCI fourth in the UC system for total applications, which also include out-of-state and international student bids.

In addition to receiving the second-most applications of all UC campuses from first-year, underrepresented-minority California residents (32,528), UCI was the top in-state choice for Asian Americans (30,374), second for Chicanos/Latinos (27,713) and third for African Americans (4,366) – all more than last year.

UCI, which aspires to be a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence, has been federally designated as both a Hispanic-serving institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution. In August 2020, the campus launched the Black Thriving Initiative – a whole-university approach to creating a culture in which Black people thrive, in part by linking UCI’s success with that of Black communities on and off campus.

Providing student support

In indicators of short- and long-term affordability, UCI continually excels. Some 11,500 UCI enrollees received Pell Grants in 2020-21, many of them first-generation students, for whom a university education is a means to upward social mobility. 

Overall, UCI has been recognized as one of the best public universities in the U.S. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, it has been ranked among the country’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report for the past six years in a row and tops Sierra magazine’s list of the nation's "Cool Schools" for sustainability.