Credit: Facebook / UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara

Do you count on EdSource’s education coverage? If so, please make your donation today to keep us going without a paywall or ads.

Some California high school graduates who are ineligible for admission to the University of California will soon have a new opportunity to get their seat in the system.

To comply with a request in last year’s state budget, UC is creating a new dual admissions program that will launch in fall 2023 and was presented this week to the academic affairs committee of the system’s board of regents. The program is targeted toward students who graduate from high school with at least a 3.0 grade point average but without all the required A-G courses, the set of classes students must take to be eligible for admission to UC. Those students would be given a conditional offer of admission to a specific UC campus, but will first need to go to community college and complete their lower-division classes.

A-G classes include math, science, history, English, art, foreign language and electives. Some high schools don’t offer all the A-G course sequences. Among 3,700 California high schools, only 1,867 offered the full set of A-G courses last year, according to data presented at the meeting Wednesday.

Last year, about 10,000 California freshman UC applicants were ineligible for admission, and about 3,700 of them had a high school grade point average of 3.0 or better.  Ineligible freshman applicants were predominately from underrepresented groups, such as Black and Latino students, low-income and the first in their families to attend college.

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

The program will be a three-year pilot running through the 2025-26 academic year, though the program’s services will extend until students in the 2025-26 cohort are ready to transfer, which could take two or more years.

“There are students that apply to us, and they don’t always know that they have not fulfilled all the A-G requirements. … And so the thought is some of those students are going to go to community college,” UC Provost Michael Brown said during a briefing to the UC regents.

“Can we create a process where we hold on to them and make sure that they have the right advice since they have already signaled a UC intent?” he added. “And we can hook up support around them so during the two years that they’re going to the community college, they are taking the right courses to return to us as effective transfers later on. So it’s a wonderful intent.”

The pilot launches at a time when the state’s community colleges are reeling from a nearly 20% drop in enrollment this spring since fall 2019, before the onset of the pandemic. California State University and UC are also facing lower numbers of applications from California community college students interested in transferring.

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

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

The chair of the academic affairs committee, Lark Park, said during the meeting that she has a problem with UCLA, Berkeley and San Diego not being included in the pilot program.

“My expectation would be that Berkeley, San Diego and LA actually do participate in the same way,” Park said.

Brown, the provost, reiterated that those campuses don’t have existing guarantees and said that adding admission guarantees at those campuses would displace other students. The Berkeley, San Diego and Los Angeles campuses are the system’s three most competitive campuses for admissions.

Brown added during the meeting that the purpose of the pilot will be to determine how effective a transfer guarantee pathway could be for students who didn’t complete their A-G requirements.

“We plan to keep track of the number and the characteristics of students who are offered dual admission, who choose to opt in and ultimately enroll at our campuses,” Brown said. “And I hope ultimately we evaluate how well they do at our campuses. That’s the true proof in the pudding as well.”

Do you count on EdSource’s reporting daily? Make your donation today to our year end fundraising campaign by Dec. 31st to keep us going without a paywall or ads.

Share Article

Comments (6)

Leave a Reply to John Fensterwald

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. el 2 months ago2 months ago

    I find myself confused. There are many thousands of students who met A-G requirements and completed high school A-G with more than a 3.0 who are rejected from all UC campuses. Is this initiative solely focused on graduates from high schools that don't offer A-G? What percentage of California high school students attend a school that does not offer a full suite of A-G? I know of even very small high schools who manage it. Schools … Read More

    I find myself confused. There are many thousands of students who met A-G requirements and completed high school A-G with more than a 3.0 who are rejected from all UC campuses. Is this initiative solely focused on graduates from high schools that don’t offer A-G?

    What percentage of California high school students attend a school that does not offer a full suite of A-G? I know of even very small high schools who manage it. Schools lacking staff also have options to get key courses for kids through community college dual enrollment or programs like CyberHigh. Would it now be a weird disadvantage to do that dual enrollment before graduation?

    Don’t all students who attend a community college, regardless of their high school performance, have the option to transfer to UC anyway? What is the thinking around the idea of these A-G deficient students taking a couple of courses and then enrolling at UC as freshmen? (I could understand, possibly, with a higher GPA threshold, creating a conditional admission of this sort.)

    Finally, I wonder if students who are at a school without an A-G pathway and graduated with a 3.0 are really set up for success at a UC campus without a full two years of work and seasoning at the community college. CSU seems to be better positioned to provide support to students with weaker academic profiles with their smaller campuses and class sizes.

  2. Joanne Jacobs 2 months ago2 months ago

    I find it hard to believe that half of California high schools don't offer A-G, unless a lot of very tiny high schools are included. Many large districts have made A-G the default, and half of students are UC/CSU eligible. Decades ago, UC Santa Cruz collaborated with San Jose City College to create a guaranteed admissions program: Students who did well in SJCC classes knew they had a spot at UCSC. As I recall, they … Read More

    I find it hard to believe that half of California high schools don’t offer A-G, unless a lot of very tiny high schools are included. Many large districts have made A-G the default, and half of students are UC/CSU eligible.

    Decades ago, UC Santa Cruz collaborated with San Jose City College to create a guaranteed admissions program: Students who did well in SJCC classes knew they had a spot at UCSC. As I recall, they took a sequence of transfer-eligible classes with other college-ready students.

  3. KATHLEEN J LEAL 2 months ago2 months ago

    Why are students applying to a UC when they don’t meet the 3.0 min GPA? Why waste the time of those who read through 4 UC personal insight essays when they aren’t eligible ? Who is pushing them to apply to a UC when they would be a better match for a CSU ? They didn’t prepare for the rigors of a UC . Why do taxpayers need to fund another outreach program to incentivize … Read More

    Why are students applying to a UC when they don’t meet the 3.0 min GPA? Why waste the time of those who read through 4 UC personal insight essays when they aren’t eligible ? Who is pushing them to apply to a UC when they would be a better match for a CSU ? They didn’t prepare for the rigors of a UC . Why do taxpayers need to fund another outreach program to incentivize more ineligible applicants to keep the funding coming. Students are applying who wouldn’t normally apply because UCs are test optional for now. With student loans interest rates increasing, the least helpful thing to do would be to encourage ill prepared students to enter a university they would be over their head in and stick them with 35k a year in student debt.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 2 months ago2 months ago

      Kathleen, as the article stated, students eligible for the program have at least the 3.0 GPA but did not take all of the A-G required courses. Among the suggested reasons, their high schools didn’t offer all of the courses, or they didn’t realize they hadn’t taken all of them. That could reflect poor counseling or poor decisions on their part. The program will give them a second chance.

  4. Alix Gallagher 2 months ago2 months ago

    I’m trying to understand how this will work, given that there are already many more eligible applicants than spots for 4-year admissions at UC. Will the UC system increasingly serve only juniors/seniors with guarantees for access existing solely for those who come in through community college transfer programs? I know that’s not the intent, but demand exceeds supply for most UC campuses, and if this becomes a viable pipeline, even if it meets legit and … Read More

    I’m trying to understand how this will work, given that there are already many more eligible applicants than spots for 4-year admissions at UC. Will the UC system increasingly serve only juniors/seniors with guarantees for access existing solely for those who come in through community college transfer programs? I know that’s not the intent, but demand exceeds supply for most UC campuses, and if this becomes a viable pipeline, even if it meets legit and fair equity goals, there will be even fewer spots for those who meet A-G at the end of HS.

  5. Leslie Smith 2 months ago2 months ago

    Have you read the California Master Plan for Higher Education? Do you know that it guarantees the top 12.5% entrance to UC? Do you know what the actual percentage is? Way below 10% all eligible students need to be admitted; then add more. It’s also supposed to be free!