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Central Coast universities received record number of applications for 2022/23 school year

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo expects to welcome about 5,000 new freshman in the fall.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo expects to welcome about 6,000 new undergraduates in the fall including freshman and transfer students.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Santa Barbara each received more undergraduate applications for the coming school year than ever before, even though freshman enrollment is expected to be similar to last year.

“This year we received over 68,000 applications and this was a record applicant pool for our campus,” Terrance Harris said.

Harris is Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He said freshman applications were up about 8% but transfer applications decreased.

The gates at the entrance to UCSB.
Beth Thornton
The gates at the entrance to UCSB.

“Overall, we had just over a 4% increase in our undergraduate applications,” Harris said.

He said the increase in freshman applicants is likely due to several factors including student outreach by the University, and the elimination of SAT and ACT testing requirements for admissions.

“You can’t attribute any of these numbers to just one thing. There’s a multitude of factors that are going into student decisions – part of it is marketing and outreach, part of it is student choice and change of demographics, part of it is changes to criteria and the admissions process, and part of it is ease of applying to multiple schools,” he said.

Harris said the applicant pool was academically strong and more diverse than in the past, with a 5.5% increase in underrepresented students over last year.

Cal Poly expects to enroll about 6,000 new undergraduates for fall 2022.

“We are looking to enroll 5,100 new freshmen and about 900 transfer students, so relatively similar to past years,” Harris said.

UC Santa Barbara also saw an increase in applications for 2022. The University told KCBX that they received about 111,000 freshman applications, a 5% increase from last year and the highest number ever for UCSB. They also expect to enroll approximately 5,000 new freshmen in the fall.

Both universities will have more final numbers about the class of 2026 when students make their college decisions May 1st.

Beth Thornton is a freelance reporter for KCBX, and a contributor to Issues & Ideas. She was a 2021 Data Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and has contributed to KQED's statewide radio show The California Report.
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