The Student Diversity in the UC System

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The UC system currently consists of about 280,000 hardworking, dedicated students. Each year this number continues to grow as more students decide to pursue higher education within the UC system. Established in 1869 with only 10 faculty members and 289 students, the UC system has grown to 9 undergraduate campuses, 1 graduate only campus,  and over 227,000 faculty and staff (University of California). In order to understand how impactful the UC system has become over the last 150 years, The Regents of the University of California created an interactive data sheet that examines the students the UC system has attracted, as well as the impact it has made on the lives of these students and their families.

Taking a Look at the Statistics 

This interactive data sheet explores the UC system if it were to only consist of 100 students. This puts the backgrounds of each student into a form that is easier to digest and understand. Starting off, we can see that the UC system consists of students from a number of backgrounds. This includes 83% coming from California, 29% transfer from a California Community College, and 33% speaking a language other than English. There is also a diversity between identities including genders and gender nonbinary, and ethnicities. The ethnic representation seen within the UC are 25% Latinx, 4% African American, 1% Native American, 21% White, 34% Asian American, and 12% other international ethnicities. 

When considering the cost of tuition for higher education, UCs offer a number of opportunities to have fees and tuition covered. There are 46% of students enrolled who have tuition and fees covered, 61% pay less than full tuition, and 56% graduate with no debt. This goes to show how affordable and accessible higher education can be to all students, regardless of their background. Graduating with no debt, and a bachelor’s degree is an amazing accomplishment students will feel proud of. 

Many students (40%) within the UC system are also first generation students. This means that they are the first in their family to attend college, and earn a college degree. As stated in the data article, “The majority will earn more than their parents in seven years (University of California)”. These students will be able to accredit their parent’s hard work and effort, by fulfilling their goals in pursuing higher education. About 35% of student’s come from low-income families, who will later earn more than their parents in five years. 

While enrolled in a UC, students are able to take advantage of the variety of opportunities across the 10 campuses. Each campus has about 300-600 student organizations that will allow all students to find an organization that matches their interests. 64% of students are involved in a student organization. The UC system is also known for its innovative research that allows students to gain experience alongside professors in fields they are interested in. About 68% of students engage in some form of undergraduate research. The opportunity to serve is also present within the UC system. There are 47% of students who engage in some form of community service, whether it be through a student organization or outside of school on their own. 

The Graduation Rate and Beyond

Ensuring a high quality education is not the only thing accomplished by the UC system. In addition 86% of freshmen will graduate within 6 years, “proudly accomplishing their cap and gown (University of California).” In four years, 68% of students will graduate with their bachelor’s degree. These statistics of achievement also apply to California Community College transfer students. Within four years 89% will graduate, and in two years 61% of them will graduate. 

Achieving a bachelor’s degree is not only a rewarding experience full of diversity and opportunity, but it is also one that allows for a rewarding future. Of the students that graduate, 83% of them will stay in California. This accounts for students who originally lived in California, and students from out-of-state who attended a UC for their undergraduate degree. UC alumni “contribute to the workforce in critical areas,” including legal services, business, government, health care, retail, education, IT, hospitality, performing arts, manufacturing, etc. (University of California). This shows how the UCs can prepare all students, no matter their career interests. Also, 37% of students who graduate will go on to earn a graduate or professional degree. This can range from a master’s degree, MBA, Ph.D, law degree, and other medical/health science degrees.

The University of California does more than just provide an education, it provides the opportunities to experience new cultures and identities through their diverse student populations. It also gives students the opportunity to get involved in a number of ways including student organizations, research, internships, jobs, and community service. The University of California is not set up for a specific student, but was instead developed to welcome all students, from all backgrounds to pursue a degree in higher education.

By Viviana Cabrera


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