Originally, the university admitted only upper class students; enrollment in 1990-1991 was 448. The first freshman students entered in 1995, when enrollment totalled 3,642.
The university's enrollment (as of Fall 2002) was approximately 7,700 students; about two-thirds of the students were from San Diego County. Enrollment is projected to surpass 12,000 students in 2010 and 18,000 students by 2020. The campus master plan calls for an eventual enrollment of 25,000.
The university began with three colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration and Education. In the 2002-2003 academic year, the most popular majors were Business Administration, Liberal Studies and the Multiple Subject (Elementary) Credential. The latter two majors are mainly used by those planning on becoming K-12 teachers. From its opening through the summer 2000, the school had awarded 5,490 bachelor's degrees, 2,478 credentials and 457 master's degrees.