Starting next week, a total of 6,876 graduate and undergraduate students will make their way across a stage in one of nine different ceremonies to shake Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s hand and to collect their degrees. Almost half of undergraduates at UC Santa Barbara, 43 percent, will be the first in their families to achieve the distinction. According to the University of California, 80 percent of UC’s low-income, first-generation students graduate within six years, compared to 11 percent nationally.
In part because of the UC’s high percentage of low-income and first-generation graduates and their relatively low debt — national undergraduate student debt average is $33,000 compared to UCSB’s average of $21,000 — all nine UC campuses have placed in Washington Monthly’s top 100 colleges. The UCs have long been recognized as social ladders for first-generation and historically marginalized students. UC Santa Barbara has been further recognized and placed in the top five of the U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 30 Public National Universities.” UC Santa Barbara’s class of 2019 provides a snapshot of the diversity on campus.
The majority of students in the 2019 class, 88 percent, are California residents. Four percent of graduates are from out of state, and 8 percent are international. A quarter of the graduating class are Latinx, 34 percent are white, and 23 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander. Black students are still underrepresented, making up only 4 percent of undergraduates at commencement.
UCSB graduates are expected to earn $39,700 annually two years after graduating. Expected salary increases with time, reaching a peak at $93,100 a year 15 years after graduation. Two years after graduation, the largest percentage of students, 13 percent, will be employed in retail and wholesale trade, followed by 9 percent of students in finance and insurance, and 9 percent also in administration and support services.