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Demise of Student 'Parochialism' : Most UCI Frosh From L.A. County

November 12, 1986|BILL BILLITER | Times Staff Writer

For the first time in the 21-year-history of UC Irvine, the freshman class has more students from Los Angeles County than Orange County, signaling a demise in student "parochialism," campus officials said.

A recent statistical breakdown of this fall's 2,975 freshmen enrollment showed that 1,153 students are from Los Angeles County, 1,041 from Orange County, 700 from other California counties and the remainder from various states and foreign countries.

Since it opened in 1965, UCI has attracted predominantly Orange County students. The change this year indicates that the campus is becoming more cosmopolitan, university officials said Tuesday.

"I believe one thing this shows is that more Orange County high school students are willing to leave the area and go to universities outside of Orange County," said James Dunning, UCI admissions director.

"When I first came here 20 years ago, I was struck by how parochial students tended to be, how they wanted to stay in the county," he said. "So I think these freshmen figures show that Orange County high school graduates are getting more sophisticated in that respect."

Although total student enrollment at UCI still includes a preponderance of local residents, the new figures show "that more people outside Orange County are attracted here as its size and visibility and reputation are better known," Dunning said.

The 1986 freshman class, like last year's, has a disproportionately large percentage of Asian-American students--37%--reflecting the high scholarship of those high school students, Dunning said.

The class also includes 46% Caucasians, 7% Latinos, 3% blacks and 0.5% American Indians. About 6% declined to state their ethnic background.

UCI's total fall enrollment was a record-breaking 14,532 students, a 7% increase over last year. That includes 11,880 undergraduates, 1,582 graduate students, and 1,070 medical students, residents and interns.

The average age is 22. And the most popular major on campus--and again with this fall's freshman class--is biological sciences.

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