UCSC propels undergraduate student success

We are a campus where the entire community embraces the life-changing nature of higher education. Our dedicated faculty and staff are at the heart of student success—through the world-class teaching and research, experiential learning opportunities, and support they provide to students. Our unique college system allows UC Santa Cruz to blend the resources of a large, world-renowned research university with the intimacy of a small liberal arts college.

Our campus is home to a diverse student body of gifted scholars. Nearly half of our undergraduates are from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education, including Latinx, Black, Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students. About a third are the first in their families to attend college. The talent, resilience, hard work, and high achievement of our students earned them admission to UC Santa Cruz, and will prepare them to have an extraordinary impact on the world.

UC Santa Cruz propels student success. We have been ranked among the top public universities in the nation for social mobility and—underscoring our reputation for leading positive change—third in the nation for students focused on making an impact on the world. UC Santa Cruz changes students’ trajectories—and equips them to change the world. 

But for many prospective students, investing in higher education and pursuing their career interests can feel out of reach. About a third of UC Santa Cruz undergraduates are eligible for a federal Pell Grant, which generally means having a total family income of $50,000 or less. In a recent survey, nearly 40 percent of UC Santa Cruz undergraduates reported experiencing anxiety and difficulty in focusing on their studies because they were worried about paying for housing. Even with partial assistance, some students find that taking out loans and securing part-time work to cover additional costs is not enough. 

Creating a genuinely successful higher education experience requires a holistic approach—one that ensures that students have access to financial support, secure sources of housing and food, mental health support, and connections that will catalyze their social mobility. UC Santa Cruz is committed to building a greater sense of belonging for all students. We strive to ensure that students receive financial support to minimize debt, increase student retention and graduation rates, gain career-related experience, and build social connections to access the programs and people who will open doorways beyond the classroom and the campus. We want to create the conditions for all graduates to successfully launch their careers, or continue their academic journeys, for the greatest societal impact.