The University of California system will be 150 years old on Friday, March 23. That’s the date in 1868 when Gov. Henry Haight signed the university’s charter. The system has become one of the world’s most-respected public school systems, but tuition hikes have been nearly four times the rate of inflation since the 1990s.

The first campus was in the hills of Berkeley, where UC Berkeley now stands, and used the former College of California’s buildings. Classes began with 10 faculty members and 40 students.

In 2018, the UC system’s nine undergraduate campuses received a record 221,788 applications for incoming freshmen. Of those applications, 153,239 were from in-state students and more than 74,000 from international and out-of-state students.

In the fall of 2017, the UC system had about 67,000 new students. Community college transfers accounted for 18,690; 46,014 were incoming freshmen. The system educates more than 278,000 students, including those in graduate school.


Total enrollment by campus, 2017:

Source: University of California

In-state tuition

Annual undergraduate tuition for the UC system (including mandatory fees), since 1989:

Sources: University of California and Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Top 100 public schools

All nine undergraduate UC schools are among the top 100 schools U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 education rankings of national universities.

Source: U.S. News

You can see the full rankings for public and private schools here. U.S. News & World Report’s full list can be seen at



Look at enrollment figures for specific time periods at

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