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University of California President Visits Riverside Campus

President Michael V. Drake, MD
Elena Zhukova/University of California
President Michael V. Drake, MD

University of California President Micheal V. Drake was at UC Riverside to share his goals for the University of California system with students, staff and faculty. Drake’s visit comes at a time when UC is experiencing declining application rates across its ten campuses.

While data made public by UC shows that, overall, applications are down this year, UC Riverside is seeing an increase.

“UCR is really excellent in many things, including really providing an outstanding opportunity to people to educate themselves in ways that lets them elevate the quality of their lives and the quality of the lives of the people and their families and their communities,” said Drake.

Despite more applications overall, UC Riverside has experienced a 19.7 percent drop in transfer applications in the last three years.

“Broadly, community colleges had a real decrease in their numbers these last three years. Again, the pandemic affected different segments of our population in different ways,” said Drake.

A 2022 report from the Public Policy Institute of California revealed that California Community College enrollment declined by 20% between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2021. UC Riverside extended its transfer application deadline to the end of January, which drew in 1,000 additional applicants.

Drake said the decline in applications this year is not a cause for concern for UC— application rates tend to ebb-and-flow.

UC and Gov. Gavin Newsom are working to increase the number of Californians that are admitted to the University of California. The University is planning to add 4,200 Californian undergraduates by this fall.

“Our first priority is to provide the best possible opportunity for Californians and we've worked with the governor and the legislature to in fact increase the number of slots available for Californians and that's our growth plan over these years seeks to do just that,” said Drake.

Drake says that UC will continue to bolster programs to help make education more affordable and accessible for students. Last year, UC launched the Native American Opportunity Plan, which will cover tuition for students who are enrolled in a federally recognized Native American, American Indian and/or Alaska Native tribe.

UC is also trying to help bring down the costs of course materials and close achievement gaps. UC's return-to-aid component funnels revenues from student tuition back into financial aid.

“We are concerned about broad access for durability, the quality of our university. We're concerned about our carbon footprint and climate change and those things that are important to the world moving forward,” said Drake.