By TERENCE CHEA

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The University of California system has again received a record number of applications for undergraduate admission, attracting strong interest from inside and outside the state, school officials said Friday.

The number of students applying to attend UC this fall rose nearly 9 percent to 175,000, with all nine undergraduate campuses reporting gains. The total includes 140,000 freshman applicants and 35,000 students seeking to transfer, according to university data.

"We're humbled by the continued demand and confidence that people see in the University of California," said Michael Trevino, director of undergraduate admissions. "It will be more competitive, but we'll continue to have a place for outstanding California applicants."

More than 46,000 prospective undergraduates applied to UC Santa Cruz, the most ever. Of those, about 38,000 were high school seniors and 8,000 were transfers.

The increase in freshman applications at UCSC, 16.9 percent, was the highest among any UC school.

The latest data shows robust demand for a UC education even though tuition has roughly doubled over the past five years to about $13,000 for California residents. Out-of-state students pay about $36,000 in annual tuition.

It's the ninth consecutive year of record applications.

The number of California residents applying as freshman and transfer students rose nearly 5 percent to 129,000. Domestic out-of-state applications increased 14 percent to 23,000, while international applications jumped 31 percent to 23,000.

The largest number of international applications came from China, followed by South Korean, India, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore, Trevino said.

The number of students from outside California has steadily increased over the past few years, and the trend is expected to continue, Trevino said. Non-residents currently make up less than 9 percent of UC undergraduates.

The California applicants were 30 percent Latino, 30 percent Asian-American, 29 percent white, 6 percent African-American and 1 percent Native American. The number of applicants rose in each demographic group.

UCLA attracted the most applications at nearly 100,000, followed by Berkeley at 84,000, San Diego at 82,000 and Santa Barbara 76,000. The average California applicant applied to about four campuses.

The Merced and Santa Cruz campuses saw the biggest jumps in applications, rising more than 14 percent at each school.

For the first time, Latinos made up the largest share of California residents applying as freshman, increasing from 30 percent to 32 percent, UC officials said.