Regents Debate Proposal to Alter UC Freshman Admissions Policy

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Correction Appended

Discussion of a proposal to change the university's freshman admissions policy yielded to confusion and debate at a UC Board of Regents committee meeting yesterday on whether the proposal's adoption would be positive for the UC system.

"The purpose (of the proposal) is to provide a broader swath of students the opportunity to make the case that they're qualified for the UC," said UC Davis professor Mark Rashid, chair of the university faculty's Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, which drafted the proposal.

In particular, the proposal to lower the required GPA for UC eligibility from a weighted 3.0 to an unweighted 2.8 drew some negative reactions from the regents.

Regent Judith Hopkinson expressed concern about lowering the minimum GPA, which she said could make a huge impact on the state's K-12 system.

Another point of contention surrounds changing measures of statewide eligibility and local eligibility. Current local eligibility policy provides that the top 4 percent of students in their respective California high schools are automatically UC eligible. Statewide eligibility provides that the top 12.5 percent of all California students are also UC eligible, as outlined by the California Master Plan for Higher Education.

If the regents pass the proposal, which would take effect for freshmen entering the university in fall 2012, the top 9 percent of students in their high schools and the top 9 percent of students in the state would be guaranteed eligibility.

Regent George Marcus noted that the changes, while widening the pool of eligible students, might also have unintended consequences, such as a negative public perception of the university.

"Basically, we're going to take a seat away from someone who followed the rules for someone who didn't follow the rules; we're lowering our standards," Marcus said, in what he called a "gross generalization" of how the public could perceive the changes.

Though many of the regents expressed their admiration for the work of Rashid and his board members, others said they were concerned about the proposal's impact and troubled by the lack of time to review the proposal.

"We need to get on with this, but I want to do it in a way where everyone around the table has had all their questions answered and all the information to make an informed decision," said Regent Eddie Island, chair of the Educational Policy Committee, in which the proposal was considered.

The committee is slated to resume discussion about the proposal today.


Correction: Monday, July 21, 2008
Thursday's article "Regents Debate Proposal to Alter UC Freshman Admissions Policy" incorrectly stated that the UC Board of Regents were slated to take a vote on the freshman admissions policy on Thursday. In fact, the regents discussed the policy on Wednesday and Thursday, but were not slated to vote on the issue at that time.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Kelly Fitzpatrick at [email protected]

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