According to preliminary admissions data, 17,589 Latino students have been accepted as freshmen at one of the UC's nine undergraduate campuses, or 29 percent of all in-state applicants who got in. That compares to 16,378 white students who were admitted.
It's the first time this has happened statewide at the University of California. At UC Irvine, Hispanic/Latino applicants have outpaced white students for the past three years.
"Those numbers describe the change in demography of the state of California and, of course, Orange County," said Douglas Haynes, UCI associate vice provost for equity and diversity.
Nearly 40 percent of California's population is Latino. While more are enrolling in colleges and universities, they still lag behind white students when it comes to graduating.
At UC Irvine in 2009-2010, just over 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino students graduated in four years, compared with more than 70 percent of whites. University officials say there are a number of reasons for this.
"Many students, I think, take more time in part because of the cost of higher education," said Haynes.
Asian Americans remained the largest single ethnic group represented in the accepted freshman class this fall, making up 36 percent. Black students received 4 percent of the admission offers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.