Nearly 1,000 students have sent in deposits to attend the new University of California campus near Merced this fall, to the quiet relief of school officials who had worried that too few students might enroll at the campus in its first year.
UC Merced officials said the figure surpasses the target for freshmen, with 867 who have now submitted statements of their intent to enroll in the fall, along with deposits of $100 each to hold a place.
An additional 73 applicants have said they will enroll as transfer students and 34 others as graduate students. Total enrollment for the first year is expected to be about 1,000 students.
Located in Central California, the campus is scheduled to open Sept. 6, after a formal convocation ceremony the previous day. The 10th school in the UC system will be the first in the San Joaquin Valley, where the rate of college attendance has long trailed that of other regions of the state.
Of those students who now have said they will attend, about a quarter are from the San Joaquin Valley, with significant numbers also coming from the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, admissions officials said. Administrators have said they hope to eventually draw about half of the university's students from the area.
About 45% of the prospective students reported they would be the first in their families to attend college.
Uncertain how appealing the fledging and relatively isolated campus might be, UC Merced accepted nearly 6,000 of its 8,000 freshman applicants, hoping for a class of about 800 for the fall. But some administrators and faculty also had expressed concern that too many students might accept the offers, potentially overwhelming the campus' initial facilities and services.