The university received nearly 60,000 applications this cycle, a decrease of 6,000 from last year. Of these, 9,535 were admitted, an increase of approximately 2,000 from 2019.
Of those admitted for the 2020 fall term, 29% come from typically underrepresented minority groups. A sixth of admitted students would be the first in their family to attend college, as well.
International students comprise 14% of the admitted class, a decrease of three percentage points from last year.
This is the first year that prospective students applied to the university after the Varsity Blues scandal rocked the community last year. In 2018 and 2019, USC was hit by a series of other scandals, including a campus gynecologist and a men’s sexual health doctor both accused of sexual misconduct.
The admissions decision also comes at a time where the university has moved all classes online in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
USC is not the only school that saw an increased admissions rate. Some Ivy League schools, such as Harvard, Dartmouth and Columbia University, also admitted more applicants. However, each of their rates increased by less than one percentage point.
UCLA also saw a decrease of about 3,000 applicants compared to last year.
The increased numbers could be due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, according to the Wall Street Journal. Universities are unsure how many foreign students will be able to come to campus and how many others may not be able to afford tuition due to economic upheaval.
Another factor possibly driving the admissions rate is a decrease in deposits, or students committing to USC after being admitted. Deposits in 2019 decreased by 7% from the previous year.
Despite the increase in Fall admits, the university is continuing to admit students for the Spring program, according to the Office of Admission.
This will also be the first class of students to benefit from USC’s new financial aid initiative. In February, the university announced U.S. students whose families make less than $80,000 per year would attend tuition-free.
USC Housing said in an email that it is still opening the housing application for admitted freshmen next week.
“It will be some time before we know if the current crises will have any impact on Fall assignments for new freshmen,” USC Housing wrote. “The housing application for new admits will open next week per the usual process.”