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Majority of UC Irvine’s Class of 2017 are first-generation students

Graduates give a “Zot” during UC Irvine commencement in 2016. Credit: Steve Zylius/UC Irvine


UC Irvine granted 10,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees this year. And in a testament to the university’s commitment to access and affordability, a record 54 percent of bachelor’s degrees (4,880) were awarded to first-generation college students. Last year, the figure was 48 percent.

This high ratio of traditionally underserved students along with their high graduation rates have twice earned UC Irvine the top spot in The New York Times ranking of universities that do the most in helping students achieve the American dream.

“This graduating class highlights how well UC Irvine is serving the people of our state by offering a world-class education to the best and brightest students, regardless of their financial circumstances, and acting as a powerful engine of upward economic mobility,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman.

This year’s commencement season follows last month’s announcement that UC Irvine earned Hispanic-serving institution status for 2017-18. This designation is awarded to universities with more than 25 percent Latino undergraduates. It builds on UC Irvine’s recognition earlier this year as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, demonstrating UC Irvine’s dedication to providing a superior education to every qualified student.

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