Credit: Alison Yin/EdSource
UC Berkeley

California’s 24-year ban on affirmative action has had a staggering impact on underrepresented students seeking admission to the state’s public universities.

On Tuesday, voters will once again consider whether race and gender can be determining factors in college admissions, public-agency hiring and contracting and whether to reverse course in a state where the demographics of its electorate have dramatically changed over the past two decades.

Even if Proposition 16, which would strike the ban from the state constitution, is approved, a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases will shape just what the state’s public universities can do to boost the number of underrepresented students.

Since voters in 1996 stopped the California State University system from recruiting students based on race and offering recruited students scholarships to relieve financial burdens, the share of Black and Native American students has fallen.

But the widest enrollment gap exists among Latinos at the University of California, where there is a double-digit difference between the percentage of high school graduates and those enrolled in the 2019 freshman class: 52% vs 29%. And even for those students who completed the required course sequence for admission, known as A-G, the gap was 13 percentage points.

At the same time, Asians are overrepresented at the University of California — nearly triple their share of high school graduates. And white students on campus remain slightly below their share of graduates.

One of the issues at play is a dramatically different California. Since 1997, the last year before the affirmative action ban took effect, the number of California high school graduates statewide grew 63%.

Most of that stems from the growth in the increase in Latino high school graduates from about 82,000 in 1997 to more than 229,000 in 2019. The numbers of Blacks and Asians also increased but their share of the total dropped.

Banned from using race to decide on admissions, the University of California tried proxies, a list of 14 factors, such as census data, to identify poor neighborhoods and family income to identify underrepresented students, but, experts said, without enough success.

The effects of Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action, also extends to the racial and ethnic makeup of state university faculty who do not come close to reflecting California’s ethnic diversity.

White instructors dominate the professorial ranks, with the widest gap at the University of California, where they made up nearly 70% of all academics in 2016-17, a year when only 27% of UC students were white.

“UC acknowledges the acute need to remove barriers in the recruitment and retention of talented faculty and staff from diverse and underrepresented groups,” UC spokesperson Claire Doan wrote in an email. “The proportion of women and underrepresented groups in the faculty continues to grow at a modest pace.”

Credit: California State Assembly

Assemblymember Shirley Weber, D-San Diego

“This is a system gone wrong,” said state Assemblymember Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, who is the daughter of an Arkansas sharecropper. She led efforts to get Prop. 16 on the Nov. 3 ballot. “Diversity and opportunity get right to the soul of what a university should be.”

Prop. 209, she said, was “blatantly racist.”

California State University Trustee Jack McGory, who was San Diego’s city manager in 1996, called the ban “mean spirited.”

Prop. 16 would remove the ban on affirmative action and allow the systems to decide what steps to take to bring greater equity in admissions, faculty hiring and contracts. The campuses vary in diversity and are autonomous, within the law, to carry out different approaches to recruitment and admissions.

But, opponents argue, admission decisions should be based on merit. Some Asian Americans, for example, fear that increasing admissions to other groups will only result in decreases for them.

Getting voter approval for Prop. 16 looks bleak, however. Two September polls put voter support at only 31% and 33%. It’s been endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and other leading Democrats.

While the university systems can’t take a position on a political issue, leaders have voiced their support. In 1996, the ban was approved by voters 55.5% to 45.5%.

Ban created “opportunity gap”

Credit: California State University

CSU chancellor Timothy White

Retiring CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said the ban created “a fundamental opportunity gap” for students of color. “They’ve had less opportunity for reasons that are often beyond their control” like financial issues, the quality of their schools and being the first member of their family to go to college, White said.

On faculty, White said Prop.16 would give the system more tools to attract diverse faculty and keep them as successful faculty members.

But the man who led the fight against affirmative action in 1996 has resurfaced in California to challenge Prop. 16. Known as the father of Prop. 209, former UC Regent Ward Connerly, remains staunchly opposed to targeting programs to help students or faculty based on their race or ethnicity.

If students are struggling, he said in an interview, they need to work harder. His answer to the widening gaps between the pool of Black, Native American and Latino students and those enrolled in the state’s four-year universities is that more time is needed for Americans to accept that only “color blindness” will allow progress.

“There are opportunities there for them,” said Connerly, 81, who is Black and now retired. He was a Sacramento developer when the ban passed. “Over time, in the fullness of time, those numbers will go up.”

An EdSource analysis of CSU and UC student enrollment data from 1996 through 2018 reveals that voter rejection of affirmative action hurt the enrollment of Black, Latino and Native American students in California’s public universities:

  • Black student enrollment in CSU and UC remains lower than their share of high school graduates in California. The gap is greater at CSU where they were 8% of the freshman class in 1997 but have fallen almost in half to 4%. At the same time, the number of Black high school graduates has increased from about 21,000 in 1997 to 25,000 in 2018.
  • The number of Native Americans entering CSU campuses was tiny in 1996 and yet still fell drastically to 0.2% of the 2018 incoming freshman class, a mere 114 students. They reached their peak in 1995 at 1.23% of the freshman class. More Native Americans are enrolled at UC, where in 2018 they made up 0.5% of freshmen enrollment, close to their share of high school graduates.
  • Latino enrollments in 2018 at CSU closely resemble their share of the high school graduating class. But at UC, they are vastly underrepresented.

Since 1997, white students gained at CSU but their enrollment remains four percentage points below their share of high school graduates. At UC, the gap is six percentage points between white students who took the required high school courses for admission and those enrolled.

Asian students make up an increasingly larger share of the enrollment at UC. They outpaced their share of high school graduates by 27 percentage points at UC with most — 24% — completing required courses. At CSU, Asians in 2018 were close to their share of high school graduates: 17% enrolled compared to 14% high school graduates.

Room for qualified students in 1996

Prior to Prop. 209’s passage, the CSU system didn’t need to consider race in admissions because there were enough open slots to place all qualified applicants, spokesman, Michael Uhlenkamp said. But prior to the affirmative action ban, the CSU system used so-called “equal opportunity
programs” to recruit students who were minorities or underrepresented at the university.

Some were awarded targeted scholarships and enlisted in programs that helped with tutoring and mentors. There were also programs to help students qualify for admission by completing the required A-G sequence of high school courses.

Incoming CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro credited a UC Berkeley Equal Opportunity Program for bringing him to that campus as an undergraduate.

“It changed my whole life,” he told EdSource on the day he was selected chancellor this fall. But all the programs that targeted support and gave academic help to students vanished.

Prop. 209 created subtle but troubling consequences for minorities and Latinos, said Steve Kellner, the former superintendent of the West Sonoma Union High School District, who is now the director of program delivery at California Education Partners, a nonprofit that works with school districts to improve student outcomes.

“Kids excluded themselves already because they knew there wasn’t a place for them,” he said.

Many underrepresented students accepted to the public universities are poor and the first in their family to go to college. They often need help adjusting to university life, he said, adding that programs designed for the summer between high school and college can be critical to their success.

“There are all kinds of examples in the research that show that once you give students a chance, they tend to rise to the occasion,” Kellner said. But others, especially those who would be the first in their family to go college, don’t because without mentors from their own ethnic or racial group and programs to help them acclimate to college, they feel intimidated.

Credit: Andrew Reed/EdSource

Jessica Ramos

Jessica Ramos, a college-bound student at Skyline High School in Oakland says worthy students often need a boost. “Prop. 16 would help a lot of students.”

“They have amazing stories,” said Ramos, a member of the Oakland Unified School District’s City Council Student Union. “They don’t get in because of race and different things on their applications,” she said. “There are things the schools don’’t see.”

Helping underrepresented students with scholarships

At CSU, White said that affirmative action would allow the system to create scholarships specifically for underrepresented students. Those scholarships “would be supportive of a certain race or ethnicity that would then allow that student to not have to work on the outside and could put all of their energy in their courses and be engaged with faculty and support staff,” White said.

“To me, that’s a way in which we would increase the speed to earn a degree and go on to grad school or work,” he said.

It’s a strategy that also supports CSU’s Graduation 2025 initiative to improve graduation rates for all students.

But that’s the type of program that Connerly and other Prop. 209 proponents specifically object to because it would single out students for aid based on their race or ethnicity.

A study based on internal data by a UC Berkeley researcher published in August by the UC Office of the President found that, “affirmative action provided very large admissions advantages to mostly lower-income Black and Hispanic applicants at every UC campus, especially the more selective campuses,” the researcher, Zachary Bleemer, wrote in the report’s summary.

Credit: Courtesy of Grace Pang

Grace Pang

The programs leading to a UC degree enabled those students to boost their earning potential after graduation. “As a result, Prop. 209 caused a substantial decline in the number of high-earning early-career (Black and Latino) Californians that persists more than 20 years later,” he wrote.

Grace Pang, a senior at San Jose State, who is Chinese and Vietnamese, says affirmative action programs aimed at women and Asian students could have helped her with her living expenses as the first member of a low-income family to go to college. “It can really impact students like me. It could negate the extra barriers that people have to go through,” she said.

Latinos: Most improvement at CSU

Latinos have shown the most improvement in CSU enrollment where they are nearly on par with their percentage of high school graduates: 51% to 50%. Among those who took the required admissions courses, 43% were enrolled in 2018. For some students, CSU may have the advantage of lower costs and more locations around the state, 23 to nine undergraduate campuses for UC.

The widest gap is at UC, where there is a 23 percentage point gap between the enrolled Latino freshmen and high school graduates: 52% vs. 29%. The gap between enrolled freshmen and those meeting admission requirements is about half of that.

Even Connerly called the gap “troubling.”

That number, experts said, shows the reality that Black, Native American and Latino students who are historically underrepresented face. Latino students still need additional targeted help to overcome inequities that exist in high schools that pose a barrier to admission into top universities and to stay there once they get there, said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Los Angeles.

Underrepresented students may go to schools where the types of advanced classes that can lead to higher grade point averages aren’t offered, Saenz said. “If you’re going to (high school) in Beverly Hills, your upper limit on your GPA is much higher than if you’re going to Compton,” he said.

Because of U.S Supreme Court decisions since 1996 that have shaped affirmative action nationally, if Prop. 16 passes, California would be starting to shape policies from a very different place than where the state was when the ban took effect 24 years ago, Saenz said.

Federal law now requires policymakers to undertake “careful consideration” and reviews to decide if there are other ways to reach desired goals before going to programs based on racial criteria, Saenz said.

Just having those probative discussions and “searching inquiries” in California will benefit underrepresented students, including Latinos, Saenz said.

“We don’t focus on these issues because policymakers understandably conclude that (Prop.) 209 prohibits race-based decisions,” he said. “If we removed the Prop. 209 barriers, I believe it will create broad discussions and careful consideration along the lines of what the Supreme Court requires, and we will benefit from that.”

In August, just after taking up his post UC President Michael Drake praised the use of affirmative action as a factor in admissions during his tenure as president of Ohio State University and said the practice could be used as a tool for admission to UC if Prop 16 were to pass. He declined an interview request.

“UC recognizes the challenges of keeping pace with the diversity of the state and has been working diligently to close those gaps,” said spokesperson Doan.

This fall, UC touted its freshman class Latino enrollment as the highest in its history. Yet, officials say, the system needs to do better. In a pre-retirement interview in June, former UC President Janet Napolitano said affirmative action could help the system get to the ideal of a student body that reflects the state’s diversity.

“We have a list of 14 factors in admissions and it does seem artificial when the only factor you can’t consider is race, ethnicity, or gender as if those have nothing to do with a student,” she said.

A handout or a boost?

One of the biggest challenges that proponents of Prop. 16 say they face is the perception that affirmative action simply gives students a hand out or a faculty job to an otherwise unqualified academic.

CSU San Marcos, located in Southern California, within an hour’s drive of 35 reservations and rancherias, has the highest population of Native Americans in the vicinity of any CSU campus.

Joely Proudfit, chair of CSU San Marcos’ Native American Studies Department said the return of affirmative action would allow for the recruiting of Native American students and faculty, something that cannot be done now.

While she was recently able to hire a Native American historian, she was limited to recruiting without identifying that she wanted to hire a Native American. “There is no reason that in 2020, you should be hiring a historian who studies Indians who’s not Indian,” said Proudfit. “You should be hiring a Native American historian who does Native American history.”

EdSource's trusted, in-depth reporting has never mattered more.

With the coronavirus affecting every aspect of California's education, demand for EdSource's reporting has increased tremendously.

We can meet this demand, with help from readers like you.

From now through December 31, NewsMatch will match your one-time gift or your new monthly donation for 12 months.

Your contribution ensures that EdSource’s content continues to be available for free – without a paywall or ads.

Make your donation today to DOUBLE your impact.

Share Article

Comments (16)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * *

Comments Policy

We welcome your comments. All comments are moderated for civility, relevance and other considerations. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

  1. Alexander 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    The UC and CSU systems need some massive overhaul across the board. I’m glad these issues are starting to be addressed, because they’ve been overlooked for far too long. I would love to see more content about this in the future as well as the progress that is being made, so please keep sharing and getting this out there.

  2. Linda Dickson 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    In Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978), the Supreme Court ruled that a university's use of racial "quotas" in its admissions process was unconstitutional. Allan Bakke, a 38-year-old white Vietnam vet, was denied admission to the University of California Medical School at Davis despite his superior scholastic record. He challenged the university's "affirmative action" policy -- and won. He is now an anesthesiologist. That's only fair. Read More

    In Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978), the Supreme Court ruled that a university’s use of racial “quotas” in its admissions process was unconstitutional. Allan Bakke, a 38-year-old white Vietnam vet, was denied admission to the University of California Medical School at Davis despite his superior scholastic record. He challenged the university’s “affirmative action” policy — and won. He is now an anesthesiologist. That’s only fair.

  3. Angelina 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    Asians work really hard. Through nights, they have their parents constantly demean them, they take the hardest courses they can, they do as many activities, jobs, and volunteering. They’re constantly told that society will judge them on a harsher scale because apparently too many are qualified for their population. This is a product of unqualified Asians from being barred from entering the US in the first place. They feel like they’re fighting and gambling to … Read More

    Asians work really hard. Through nights, they have their parents constantly demean them, they take the hardest courses they can, they do as many activities, jobs, and volunteering. They’re constantly told that society will judge them on a harsher scale because apparently too many are qualified for their population. This is a product of unqualified Asians from being barred from entering the US in the first place. They feel like they’re fighting and gambling to get any credit for the work they’ve done, yet they know they need some form of education to survive-that’s the only way their parents did.

    Accepting people based off their opportunities, family, and socioeconomic status is fair, but using race as a tool, and calling Asians extra privileged, like they never experience any racism or backlash is cruel to say the least. They’re fighting a lost system against them as much as everyone else is. There are kids from the same schools, same type of family, and yet the Asian ones are always seemed to be more privileged. Some may be, but some are not. Some come from difficult, fractured families too, their parents own small shops and businesses. They experience racism, where they’re told they are weak, socially incapable, a virus, bad at English.
    People have a hard time realizing that Asians are not always vibing. Giving kids from disadvantaged locations, with economic disadvantages and less resources a boost in the system is fair, but using race as a factor is divisive and counterproductive. Especially when overqualified people from the same school with the same resources get accepted over another kid with a different race.

    Of course, the greatest thing would be directly trying to help Latinx and Black kids become just as competitive in the process, but the government seems to think those races are incapable of having the comparable qualifications, which is a product of them not putting resources or time into those communities.

    Replies

    • sunny 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

      You are incredibly thoughtful and present such salient points. If you have any ideas on how to create a better work ethic for students, I would be delighted if you would share.

  4. jskdn 1 month ago1 month ago

    The most accurate way to describe Prop. 16 is by altering the text of the law enacted in Prop. 209 to reflect what the change would mean. “The state s̶h̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ certainly will discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” The universities employ all kinds of proxy schemes to admit … Read More

    The most accurate way to describe Prop. 16 is by altering the text of the law enacted in Prop. 209 to reflect what the change would mean.

    “The state s̶h̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ certainly will discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

    The universities employ all kinds of proxy schemes to admit more of the their preferenced races and ethnicities. Post 209, they ran models to try to gauge their effectiveness. Imagine doing that for white students. Paraphrasing the old racial complaint, these were neutral on their face but discriminatory in intent.

    Prop 209 merely limits what they can get away with.

  5. Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 1 month ago1 month ago

    I heartily agree with comments of MH. Returning to race-based selection in the United States of America in Year 2020? The truth is "affirmative action" feels good for the architects, but it creates lasting doubt about self-worth in recipients and engenders resentment and disdain from those who don't benefit from it. "Affirmative action" is a righteous-sounding poor political excuse for avoiding what really needs to be done. Make better K-12 public education in California … Read More

    I heartily agree with comments of MH. Returning to race-based selection in the United States of America in Year 2020? The truth is “affirmative action” feels good for the architects, but it creates lasting doubt about self-worth in recipients and engenders resentment and disdain from those who don’t benefit from it.

    “Affirmative action” is a righteous-sounding poor political excuse for avoiding what really needs to be done. Make better K-12 public education in California a top priority – prepare, focus and spend as if excellent public schooling were a space program or a foreign war or an economic bailout – as if our future depended on it. We know what’s really needed and it’s not “affirmative action.” It’s smaller classes, better-prepared teachers, challenging curriculum and real standards for achievement, along with counseling, tutoring, remediation and enrichment.

  6. Erik Kengaard 1 month ago1 month ago

    For one hundred years [1868- 1967], California taxpayers funded the zero tuition, world class University of California, Berkeley, for their children. How was that possible? Today, Californians and others can't afford to send their children to University. What happened to state funding? Here is my theory: The essential bases for the lack of current funding are: the electorate became fragmented [e pluribus multum and a resultant diminution of "sense of collective responsibility"], California became overpopulated, the additional population … Read More

    For one hundred years [1868- 1967], California taxpayers funded the zero tuition, world class University of California, Berkeley, for their children. How was that possible?
    Today, Californians and others can’t afford to send their children to University. What happened to state funding?
    Here is my theory:
    The essential bases for the lack of current funding are: the electorate became fragmented [e pluribus multum and a resultant diminution of “sense of collective responsibility”], California became overpopulated, the additional population did not reflect the economic substance and integrity of the population of the first hundred years, immigration driven excess population placed enormous pressure on resources, and drove up the cost of land and derivative costs way beyond inflation, and because millions of the newcomers were poor, their taxes didn’t begin to cover the costs of K12, welfare, etc for their families, and many of their children ended up in prison.
    As a consequence [somewhat simplified] State funds previously used to support the University were diverted to increased funding of K12, to prisons, and to welfare.

    Replies

    • Jim 1 month ago1 month ago

      Our state legislators are largely ambitious politicians looking for re-election and higher office. They strongly prefer to fund new programs that they can claim credit for rather than proven existing programs that benefit people. They are certainly not diverting money to K12. We should emulate Texas and make the legislature part time.

  7. Jim 1 month ago1 month ago

    It's easy to tell when when someone is writing fake news to deceive the casual reader as they use enrollment data rather than admissions data. Colleges and Universities only control admissions, they have can only wait to see who choses to attend. For example let's look at the statement "Black student enrollment in CSU and UC remains lower than their share of high school graduates in California. The gap is greater at CSU where … Read More

    It’s easy to tell when when someone is writing fake news to deceive the casual reader as they use enrollment data rather than admissions data. Colleges and Universities only control admissions, they have can only wait to see who choses to attend.

    For example let’s look at the statement “Black student enrollment in CSU and UC remains lower than their share of high school graduates in California. The gap is greater at CSU where they were 8% of the freshman class in 1997 but have fallen almost in half to 4%” I do not have CSU data handy but I do have UC data. For Fall 2019

    4,406 African American Admits
    1,778 African American Enrollees

    Well over half of admitted African American chose not to attend. Well prepared African American students have numerous options at private colleges that may offer room and board and perhaps a stipend. Just because African American students have so many options is not an indictment of our admissions system.

    Anytime you see someone writing about admissions and then switching to enrollment data without noting the difference they are likely intentionally deceptive.

  8. MH 1 month ago1 month ago

    Can’t think of a more patronizing, racist (sexist), insulting, and counter-productive policy than affirmative action. It also deflects from the real issues concerning local social and educational dysfunction. But politicians and higher ed admin lack the honesty and courage needed to focus on the change needed to affect the outcomes they say they desire.

  9. Paul Muench 1 month ago1 month ago

    California needs to define when a student is ready for UC and CSU. If it does not have the capacity to educate all students then it should subsidize students to go to private or other public universities. It’s not conscionable to tax people and then deny them services they are due.

    Replies

    • tomm 1 month ago1 month ago

      Totally agree Paul. It is also unconscionable to discriminate against another ethnicity, Asians, because they made sacrifices and worked hard in K-12 to get into a UC. Some say it is even against the milestone Civil Rights Act of 1964! Glad to hear Prop 16 is losing in the polls. Sometimes voters are wiser than our CA politicians and other so-called leaders.

      • Chris Stampolis 1 month ago1 month ago

        tomm, the issue is not about sacrifices to get into a UC. The issue Is all about which UC. Easier to get into UC Merced or UC Riverside than into many CSU campuses. Very difficult to get admission to UCLA or UC Berkeley or UC San Diego or UC Davis. A lot of qualified Latino students do not get into UCLA or UC Berkeley or UCSD or UC Davis, but do … Read More

        tomm, the issue is not about sacrifices to get into a UC. The issue Is all about which UC. Easier to get into UC Merced or UC Riverside than into many CSU campuses. Very difficult to get admission to UCLA or UC Berkeley or UC San Diego or UC Davis. A lot of qualified Latino students do not get into UCLA or UC Berkeley or UCSD or UC Davis, but do get into Riverside AND Merced and then decline those UC offers to attend a more competitive or respected or closer to home CSU.

        UC does not publish a different admission standard for each UC campus. The eligibility standard to be allowed to apply is completed A through G courses. How to break ties between students who had schools that offer more AP courses or more concurrent enrollment courses? Do not ever express that diligent Asian kids make more sacrifices than diligent Latino kids. That is not accurate. Every kid we are discussing already made the admissions cut. Affirmative action does not drop the standard to apply. The idea is how to balance and break ties between kids with different opportunities to succeed. Lots of kids denied to UCLA get into UC Merced.

    • Chris Stampolis 1 month ago1 month ago

      Paul, there are no other public universities in California. Just UC and CSU. 32 undergraduate campuses. The only students under discussion here are those who qualified by passing the A to G curriculum and who earned high enough SAT scores. UC Merced is part of UC but has lower admission standards than some CSUs. This is the messed-up part of the discussion because there is no different standard to be admitted … Read More

      Paul, there are no other public universities in California. Just UC and CSU. 32 undergraduate campuses. The only students under discussion here are those who qualified by passing the A to G curriculum and who earned high enough SAT scores. UC Merced is part of UC but has lower admission standards than some CSUs. This is the messed-up part of the discussion because there is no different standard to be admitted to the UC system than to the CSU system. Absolutely no difference in minimum threshold now in California.

      • Paul Muench 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

        My point is that the system of admission should be about mastery and not about competition. There is no GPA, SAT score and set of life experiences that UC Campuses use to admit any qualified student. Why in the world do we see that as acceptable?

  10. Chris Stampolis 1 month ago1 month ago

    Mr. Peele, you have started the article "okay," but please convince your employers to permit you to dig more deeply. Questions to force UC and CSU to answer: 1) What percentage of academically eligible Latino applicants were accepted at one or more UC campuses between 2015 and 2020? What percentage of academically-eligible Latinos were rejected from the entire UC system? I define academically-eligible as A to G complete and above the minimum GPA/SAT-ACT threshold set … Read More

    Mr. Peele, you have started the article “okay,” but please convince your employers to permit you to dig more deeply.

    Questions to force UC and CSU to answer:

    1) What percentage of academically eligible Latino applicants were accepted at one or more UC campuses between 2015 and 2020? What percentage of academically-eligible Latinos were rejected from the entire UC system? I define academically-eligible as A to G complete and above the minimum GPA/SAT-ACT threshold set by the overall UC system.

    2) Same questions for CSU.

    3) We cannot assess the reality without confronting the competition between UC and CSU. UC no longer is considered the preferred system for undergraduate education in California, at least not for Latino students. Why would a Latino students choose UC, when going to UC requires paying more for housing than going to UC? Many CSU campuses and degrees are considered more elite than some UC campuses and degrees.

    4) How many UC-admitted Latinos rejected all of their admissions offers from UC and how many CSU-admitted Latinos rejected all of their offers from CSU? You need to disaggregate the data so we see how many students decline UC Merced in favor of accepting offers to a more competitive CSU. The old people on both boards of regents assume that UC offers more elite undergraduate education overall. This is an inappropriate assumption in 2020. An admittance offer to an LA-area CSU may be seen as more desirable for many urban Latino students than an admit offer to UC Merced or UC Santa Cruz or UC Irvine. There is one UC in LA County – UCLA. There is only UC Berkeley in the Bay Area (Santa Cruz is wayyyyy over the hills to the south). However there are multiple CSUs. Are qualified Latinos rejecting thousands of admittance offers to 2nd and 3rd tier UC campuses to attend more desirable CSU campuses?

    5) Finally let’s talk total numbers. CSU enrolled 481,929 undergrads in 2019, the plurality of which are Latinos. UC enrolled 285,216 undergrads in 2019, the plurality of which are Asian-Americans. Same minimum standards now for system admission, which was not the case in 1997. CSU has raised admission standards. UC overall has decreased admission standards because of Merced. Gotta dig … Why would a family choose Merced over more highly-ranked CSUs? Answer: they don’t.