Will drop in community college transfers to UC Riverside slow its growth? – San Bernardino Sun

Fast-growing UC Riverside expects to educate more students this fall than last, but growth expectations are being tempered by a decline in community college transfers.

Reflecting a steep drop in enrollment at colleges throughout the state during the coronavirus pandemic, university officials say the number of transfer students admitted to the Inland region’s UC school fell to 7,841 this year from 9,222 in 2021.

Emily Engelschall, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services, said Wednesday, Aug. 17, that UCR is preparing for an overall increase of about 600 students this fall, but won’t know how the drop in transfers has affected enrollment until it takes a study body census in the third week of classes.

“That’s a big question mark for us right now,” Engelschall said.

Fall quarter classes start Sept. 19.

UCR reported in October a record enrollment of 26,847 — up 1.6% from the 26,434 undergraduate and graduate students who enrolled in fall 2020.

In response to declining transfers from community colleges, the university has extended the deadline to apply for a transfer during the winter 2023 term from July 31 to Aug. 31, Engelschall wrote in an email.

Engelschall said Riverside City College provides the most transfer students, followed by, in order: Pasadena City College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Norco College, Mt. San Antonio College, Santa Monica College, Chaffey College, Moreno Valley College, El Camino College and Irvine Valley College.

Robert Schmidt, a spokesperson for the Riverside Community College District, said the number of students getting ready to attend classes at Riverside City, Norco and Moreno Valley colleges is on the rise again after falling during the pandemic. But it’s still about 14% below the district’s enrollment target — which is the average for the past five years, he said. The district’s three colleges begin classes Monday, Aug. 22.

The UC system recently released data that shows UCR admitted a record number of freshman students for fall 2022 — 37,262. That’s an increase of 2,591 over last year.

Continuing a multi-year trend, UCR made offers of admission to the most California residents — 30,640 — among the nine UC undergraduate campuses. The other 6,622 offered admission live in other states or countries, a news release states.

At other UC schools, the proportion of applicants who were offered admission declined. But UC Riverside bucked that trend, welcoming 68% of applicants this year, compared to 66% in 2020.

Unlike many campuses with limited land, there is room on the Riverside campus to add facilities and students, Engelschall said. It helps that UCR has been “positioning itself as a growth campus” and is located in the heart of the expanding Inland Empire region, she said.

Engelschall said that between 17% and 22% of people who get accepted at UCR actually enroll there.

The Riverside university offered admission to 12,886 people from underrepresented groups, including Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos and Pacific Islanders, data show, or 42% of the state residents who were admitted. Only UC Merced, at 53%, and UC San Diego, at 43%, admitted a higher percentage of California freshman applicants from underrepresented groups.

The data show that UCR offered admission to 17,721 students whose families live on low incomes, the highest number among the UC undergraduate campuses. The total includes 13,482 freshman students from across California and 4,239 transfer students from California community colleges.

UCR continues to enjoy a reputation for being one of the nation’s most diverse university campuses.

And when minority students visit, Engelschall said, “they do see other students on campus that look like them. That brings a level of comfort to students, to a certain degree, and reinforces the opportunity for that to continue to be one of our strengths.”

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