FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Hanan Eisenman (510) 587-6194
Brad Hayward (510) 987-9195
REGENTS APPROVE SOME ELIGIBILITY ADJUSTMENTS FOR 2005,
DELAY ACTION ON PROPOSED GPA INCREASE
The University of California Board of Regents today (July 15) approved
two adjustments to UC's eligibility standards for freshman applicants,
effective with the fall 2005 entering class, to help keep the size of
the university's eligibility pool aligned with the 12.5 percent target
California Master Plan for Higher Education.
However, the board delayed action on two other eligibility changes proposed
by UC's faculty for the fall 2007 entering class, including an increase
in the minimum high school grade point average (GPA) required for UC
eligibility. The board is expected to reconsider the issue at a special
meeting in mid-August,
yet to be scheduled.
Some members of the board have requested the courtesy of a one-month delay
in consideration of the GPA increase portion of the proposed eligibility
changes, so as to allow them to become fully briefed about this aspect
of the proposal and to allow for greater public communication about the
recommendations," UC President Robert C. Dynes told the regents on
Wednesday. "For these reasons, we are amending our approach to this
" I believe this approach will allow us to move forward with communicating
final eligibility changes to students, schools and the broader public
beginning in September -- when there is great focus on admissions issues and
our annual conferences with high school counselors -- while ensuring
adequate public discussion before a final vote."
The Board of Regents approved the first two eligibility changes, which
are largely procedural in nature, without objection. The full package
of eligibility changes was proposed by the Academic Senate, the representative
body of the UC faculty.
Every few years, the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC)
assesses where UC stands in relation to the Master Plan provision that
the top 12.5 percent of the state's graduating public high school students
be considered eligible for UC. In May 2004, CPEC issued a new report
estimating that, in the class of 2003, 14.4 percent of the graduating
school class had achieved UC's eligibility requirements, up from 11.1
percent in 1996. The Academic Senate proposal was designed to return
UC to the
12.5 percent level in state policy.
Reducing the size of our eligibility pool is not a happy task, because
we all know that access to a high-quality college education is critical
to the future of California and its people," said Lawrence Pitts,
chair of the systemwide Academic Council. "But the faculty have
worked to craft a proposal that achieves this reduction sensibly, by
priority on academic achievement in school and avoiding a dramatic impact
on any single group of students."
Eligibility" refers to the basic academic requirements needed for
admission to the UC system. UC's statewide freshman eligibility criteria
include: (1) completion of the "a-g" pattern of college-preparatory
courses in high school; (2) the grade point average (GPA) achieved in those
courses in the 10th and 11th grades; and (3) scores on standardized tests,
including the SAT I or ACT plus three SAT II subject tests. An "Eligibility
Index" defines the combination of these grades and test scores required
for UC eligibility. Students also can become UC-eligible by being in the
top 4 percent of the class in their own school based on their grades in
the a-g courses, a process known as "Eligibility in the Local Context" (ELC)
or by scoring very high on required admission tests, known as "Eligibility
by Examination Alone."
Historically, achieving eligibility has meant a guaranteed spot at one
of UC's campuses, though not necessarily the campus of choice. Campuses
select their incoming students from among the eligible applicants, using
a process called "comprehensive review" that considers multiple
indicators, both quantitative and qualitative, of academic and personal
The two eligibility changes approved by the Board of Regents for implementation
with the fall 2005 entering class are:
- Ensure GPA is calculated in a manner reflecting performance
in all a-g courses in the 10th and 11th grades. For students who take more than
minimum number of required a-g courses, the university's official method
of calculating GPA for eligibility purposes reflects only the best combination
of grades a student achieved in a given subject. However, students are
advised to estimate their own GPA using all a-g courses taken; campuses
use all a-g courses taken when they calculate GPA for purposes of selection;
and ELC students already are evaluated for eligibility using all a-g
courses taken. This change to reflect performance in all a-g courses
of eligibility brings consistency to UC's practices.
- Require ELC students to complete UC's course and testing requirements
in order to be considered eligible. Students who are notified at the
beginning of their senior year that they are in the top 4 percent of
currently are required to complete the statewide course and test requirements
before they enroll at UC. This change will not consider them eligible
until they do so. The change will not alter the actual requirements for
only the timing of when they officially become eligible.
The Academic Senate made two other proposals for implementation with
the fall 2007 entering class. The regents delayed action on these proposals
and will likely consider them at their meeting in September. They are:
- Increase minimum GPA required for all eligible students from
2.8 to 3.1. The new minimum might differ slightly from 3.1 and would be
determined after analysis of student results from new standardized
tests (the new SAT I and ACT with writing) that will be introduced
for the fall 2006 entering class.
- Adjust the Eligibility Index as needed to bring UC's eligibility
rate to 12.5 percent. This means that, once the above adjustments are taken
into consideration, the "sliding scale" of grades and test
scores required for UC eligibility would be adjusted as much or as little
as necessary in order to achieve the 12.5 percent target eligibility
rate, factoring in the effect of the new standardized tests.
The Academic Senate also has recommended that its Board of Admissions
and Relations with Schools conduct further research into the potential
effects of expanding the ELC (4 percent) program to some larger percentage,
given the academic quality and breadth of student representation the
The Academic Senate's proposal focused on adjustments in high school
GPA, rather than increasing minimum test-score requirements, because
simulations showed that adjustments to GPA were the most effective way
to increase the expected UC academic performance of the eligible class
and had the least negative impact on populations that are now underserved
By necessity, the adjustments mean fewer students would become UC-eligible,
in order to reduce the eligibility pool from 14.4 percent of the public
high school graduating class to 12.5 percent. However, the reduced eligibility
rates are expected to be spread across all ethnic groups.
The full proposal of the Academic Senate is available at: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/regmeet/july04/302.pdf.
A fact sheet summarizing the proposal is at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/factsheets/Revised_Criteria.pdf.
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