UC Santa Barbara has increased its number of admitted students by 10 percent, from 36,282 in 2017 to 39,921 students in 2018. UCSB claims to have adequate dorm space to accommodate its incoming class, but Isla Vista may not be so accommodating. The neighboring college community is already the most densely populated area in all of Santa Barbara County and has spread into more and more of Goleta’s family neighborhoods, in part contributing to rising rents. It is unclear how UCSB’s growing number of students will affect Santa Barbara’s already hurting renters’ market.
UCSB’s admittance rate increase is in part a result of the statewide UC initiative to add an additional 10,000 Californians by the 2018-19 academic year and to make its campuses more accessible to transfer students by admitting one California transfer student for every two new state-resident first-years. This year, the UC system collectively admitted nearly 137,000 students to its nine campuses — record-breaking numbers. Of those 137,000 students, more than 95,000 are California residents and more than 24,000 are transfer students. The increase in admissions raised the number of offers to students from historically underrepresented groups. Forty-six percent of California first-years and transfers will be the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college.
For UCSB, 10,139 of admitted students, or roughly 25 percent, are transfer students, with more than 90 percent coming from California community colleges. Ethnic and racial admissions have more or less stayed the same for UCSB, with 38 percent Asian American, 26 percent white, 26 percent Latino, 4 percent black, and 1 percent American Indian students.
The question of housing remains. “Students who meet the housing application deadlines are guaranteed a space in the university residency halls or apartments,” said Andrea Estrada, UCSB’s director of media and news relations. However, whether extreme measures will be taken to guarantee students a space is unclear. In the 2016-17 academic year, UCLA was forced to convert dorm doubles into triples to accommodate its 750-student enrollment increase. Earlier this year, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, a nonprofit advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against UC Berkeley for allegedly failing to analyze the environmental impacts of the increase in student enrollment.