UC Davis Home Page

News and Information

Record number of California students enroll, higher GPAs for new undergrads

November 30, 2012

Dreamers and achievers: Meet five new students


Photography by Karin Higgins and Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

The University of California, Davis, this fall welcomed a record number of new undergraduates, including a first-year class that is more globally diverse and academically impressive.

The university, which now ranks eighth among all U.S. public research universities according to U.S. News & World Report, also saw record numbers of new undergraduates from California and from outside the United States among its record total of 33,300 students.

UC Davis’ total domestic student population is also more diverse overall, with nearly one in five from historically underrepresented groups.

"By attracting an increasingly talented and diverse entering class, UC Davis is clearly a compelling option for more and more outstanding students,” said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. "Our new undergraduates and entire student population are tomorrow’s leaders and vitally important to our future."

Among the most important overall trends:

  • The university's overall enrollment — including graduate and professional students — increased by 647, or nearly 2 percent, from last fall's 32,653.
  • New freshmen (5,208) are up 10.7 percent from last fall's 4,705, and their number is second in size only to the 5,513 who enrolled in fall 2006. Their average GPA increased from 3.88 in fall 2011 to 3.96 this fall.
  • New transfer students, most of whom come from California community colleges, reached a record high of 2,888, compared with last fall's 2,770 — a 4.3-percent increase. Their average GPA for college studies increased from 3.34 to 3.36.


  • Freshmen students from historically underrepresented groups — African American, American Indian and Chicano/Latino — make up about 22.2 percent of domestic students (United States citizens or permanent residents), down slightly from 2011.
  • Among transfer students, historically underrepresented groups account for 21.8 percent of students, up from 19.4 percent last year.
  • Overall, nearly 20 percent of the campus’s 30,197 domestic students are from historically underrepresented groups, up from 18.8 percent a year ago.

Socioeconomic measures

  • The percentage of new freshmen considered low income declined from 37 to 30.4. Those reporting that they would be in the first generation of their family to earn college degrees decreased from 40 percent to 33.3 percent.
  • The percentage of new transfer students considered low income increased from 31 to 32.3. Those reporting that they would be in the first generation of their family to graduate from college increased from 42.6 percent last fall to 44.4 percent this fall.

Ensuring access continues to be a high priority; slightly more than half (53 percent) of all UC Davis undergraduates last year paid no net tuition. (Data for 2012 is not yet available.)


  • While first-year international students increased significantly (from 198 to 309), UC Davis also welcomed more California residents (4,808 compared to 4,357 in 2011). In-state students comprise more than 92 percent of new freshmen.
  • International transfer students also increased (from 206 to 279), while California transfers grew to a record high of 2,596, from 2,545.
  • In overall enrollment, even as international student numbers increased, the number of California residents increased to a record high and continue to predominate (94.7 percent of the total undergraduate student population).

With almost 2,000 UC Davis students in programs offered off campus, the Davis campus student population is an estimated 31,307. This number is expected to decline slightly when averaged over three academic quarters.

The campus’s office of Budget and Institutional Analysis provided most enrollment data; Undergraduate Admissions provided information on new freshman and transfer students.

Tables available

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Media contact(s):

Return to the previous page