Throttling back on growth, UC San Diego admits fewer than 25 percent of freshman applicants for fall

UC San Diego enrolled more than 42,000 students in fall 2022.
UC San Diego enrolled more than 42,000 students in fall 2022.
(Gary Robbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune )

The slow down comes as the university is racing to build housing for thousands of students, as well as new labs, classrooms and a four-building student center


For a second straight year, UC San Diego admitted fewer than 25 percent of its freshman applicants to help the school catch up with massive growth that produced a critical shortage of housing, lab space and classrooms.

The campus says that it offered admission to 32,314 of the 130,830 students — 24.7 percent — who sought to enroll as freshmen this fall. The admission rate was about 23.7 percent one year earlier.

The figure was a comparatively high 34.3 percent in fall 2021, capping a 10-year period in which UCSD’s enrollment increased by roughly 13,300, reaching nearly 42,000.

Unable to find affordable housing elsewhere, more than 3,200 students ended up on waiting lists for campus housing, which angered both students and their parents. The shortage occurred even though the university was in the midst of an historic building campaign.

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said at the time that UCSD needed to shift more of its focus to adding infrastructure. Since then, the construction boom has only gotten bigger.

In late June, UCSD began building the Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood, which will provide beds for 2,400 students, as well as food services and teaching space. At the same time, the school broke ground on Triton Center, a four-building student union complex that will include a 500-person event space.

Those projects are unfolding a short distance from where UCSD is already constructing two separate villages that will collectively house more than 2,300 students, many in high rises that are visible from miles away.

The ongoing expansion is meant to accommodate transfer students as well as other newcomers. UCSD says it offered admission to 12,464 of the 19,942 transfer students, or 62.5 percent, who sought to enroll this fall. All but 1,264 of the applicants are from California. The university has focused harder on accepting students from the state’s community colleges.