A new program that allows ineligible applicants to the University of California to be admitted | Tech US News


Credit: Facebook / UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara

Some California high school seniors who are ineligible to enroll at the University of California will soon have another chance to earn their spot in the system.

To meet a request in last year’s state budget, UC is creating a new dual enrollment program that will begin in fall 2023 and was presented to the system’s board of trustees’ academic affairs committee this week. The program is for students who have graduated from high school with at least a 3.0 grade point average, but without all of the required AG courses that students must take to be eligible for admission to UC. These students would get a conditional offer of admission to a specific UC campus, but would first have to go to a community college and complete lower-division classes.

AG classes include math, science, history, English, art, foreign language, and electives. Some high schools do not offer all AG course sequences. Among California’s 3,700 high schools last year, only 1,867 offered the full range of AG courses, according to data presented at Wednesday’s meeting.

Last year, about 10,000 California university news applicants were ineligible for admission, and about 3,700 had a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Ineligible freshmen applicants were mostly from underrepresented groups, such as black and Hispanic students, low-income and the first in their families to attend college.

UC plans to reach out directly to eligible high school seniors who will receive letters inviting them to participate in the program next spring.

The program will be a three-year pilot program that will run through the 2025-26 academic year, but program services will be extended until students in the 2025-26 cohort are ready to transition, which could take two or more years.

“Students apply to us who do not always know that they have not met all the requirements of the AG. … And so I think some of those students will go to a community college,” UC Vice Chancellor Michael Brown said during a meeting for UC regents.

“Can we create a process where we stick with them and make sure they have the right advice since they’ve already communicated their intent to UC?” he added. “We can build support around them so that in the two years they go to community college, they take the right courses so that they come back to us later as effective transfers. So it’s a wonderful cause.”

The pilot project comes as the state’s colleges grapple with a nearly 20 percent drop in enrollment this spring from fall 2019, before the pandemic hit. California State University and UC are also experiencing fewer applications from University of California students interested in transferring.

The pilot program is the state’s latest attempt to give students more options to transition into the UC system, a process that has been criticized as currently too difficult and complicated.

The program will be offered at six of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses: Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Those campuses were chosen because they already have guaranteed admission programs, while the system’s other three undergraduate campuses — UCLA, Berkeley and San Diego — do not.

Academic Affairs Committee Chairwoman Lark Park said during the meeting that she has a problem with UCLA, Berkeley and San Diego not being included in the pilot program.

“I expect Berkeley, San Diego and LA to actually work together in the same way,” Park said.

Brown, the chancellor, reiterated that those campuses do not have existing guarantees and said that adding admissions guarantees to those campuses would crowd out other students. The Berkeley, San Diego, and Los Angeles campuses are the admissions system’s three most competitive campuses.

Brown added during the meeting that the purpose of the pilot will be to determine how effective the transfer guarantee pathway could be for students who have not met their AG requirements.

“We plan to track the number and characteristics of students who are offered dual admission, who choose to participate and who ultimately enroll on our campuses,” Brown said. “And I hope that we will ultimately measure how well they are doing on our campuses. The real proof is also in the pudding.”

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