Merced County Times Newspaper
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UC Merced begins another banner year

More than 9,000 students return to in-person instruction

School is back in session and UC Merced’s total student enrollment has again surpassed 9,000 as the university returns to primarily in-person instruction for fall 2021 with its largest first-year class ever.

The 9,226 students enrolled for the start of the academic year include 2,466 first-year students, 282 new transfer students and 146 new graduate students.

“UC Merced continues to attract California’s best and brightest students, and we are proud that our research, our teaching and our strong sense of community are becoming more widely recognized,” said Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz.

The $1.2 billion Merced 2020 Project campus expansion, which was completed last summer, has provided much-needed physical space for teaching, research, student housing, athletics and student life and comfortably supports the enrollment of up to 10,000 students.

Nationally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for low-income and underrepresented groups and college enrollment. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies said this makes the enrollment growth at UC Merced — a campus where three in four students are first-generation and more than 60 percent are eligible for Pell grants — all the more impressive.

“UC Merced is a campus where amazing students find the resources they need for success,” Nies said. “Our continued enrollment growth is testament to the powerful work of faculty, staff and student peers in creating an environment that is welcoming and yet challenging for our brilliant scholars.”

With nearly 90 percent of the campus community vaccinated and health and safety protocols in place, the campus is prepared to ensure active monitoring and rapid response in order to keep the campus community as safe as possible.

Moving forward, UC Merced will soon begin implementing its first-ever strategic plan, which will put it on a path to becoming a Carnegie Classified R1 (very high research activity) institution, leading to further achievements in academics, research, community engagement and student success in the coming decade and beyond.

“There is nothing but success in our future — for students, faculty, staff and the university,” the chancellor said. “We are building a reputation for excellence at UC Merced that will be second to none.”

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