36 percent more Latinos admitted to UC amid push to boost in-state enrollment

Students walk across the campus in Los Angeles, California.

Students walk across the campus in Los Angeles, California.  (2012 Getty Images)

Amid pressure from state lawmakers to prioritize state residents in admissions, the University of California announced they are on track to meet their goal of enrolling 5,000 more local undergraduates for next fall.

University admissions officials reported Monday that 66,123 California high school seniors have so far been offered admission to one of the public system’s nine undergraduate campuses.

This marks a 14.7 percent increase in the number of California residents accepted as freshmen as compared to this time last year, Los Angeles Times reported. With this, the proportion of underrepresented minorities grew significantly: 22,704 Latinos were admitted this year, up from 16,608 last fall, and now represent 32 percent of the total class admitted.

The number of African-Americans admitted freshmen grew to 3,083 from 2,337, or about 4.7 percent. 

Among those accepted this year was Maria Contreras, who told the LA Times that she screamed when she found out. She said her mother, a Mexican immigrant, had a long-lasting dream to see one of her three children attend the renowned Westwood campus.

Her classmate Melissa Navarro was offered admission to four UC campuses. She will be the first member of her family to attend college.

“We're trying to be the difference — get an education and get ahead and not let life pass us by,” Navarro told the paper.

“We've intensified our efforts to boost enrollment of Californians at the university, and all indications are that these efforts are working,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement Monday. 

“Our commitment to California and California students has never wavered, even through the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression. Now, with additional state funding, we are able to bring in even more California students.”

The UC announcement came just days after a state audit found that the college system was admitting too many applicants from other states and countries, whose tuition is higher.

This year's state budget includes an extra $25 million for the UC system if it registers 5,000 more in-state freshmen and transfer students by the 2016-17 academic year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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