UC Discusses Radical Change to Admissions

Emphasizing class rank and relaxing test-score standards could boost disadvantaged students' enrollment.

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Admissions to the University of California could see a major overhaul for the freshman class of 2012, a change meant to open up the university to low-income, minority, rural, and inner-city students, the Daily Californian reports.

The proposal, discussed in length at the UC regents meeting yesterday, would lower grade-point average minimums, emphasize class rankings, drop the requirement for SAT subject tests, and guarantee admissions for the top 9 percent of senior classes, as opposed to the 4 percent currently in use.

"This represents the biggest change in [UC's] eligibility policy since there has been an eligibility policy," said Mark Rashid, the UC-Davis engineering professor who chaired the faculty committee that developed the proposal.

The plan would also relax college-prep course and test score standards and reduce UC's guaranteed admissions target, giving flexibility to find students who have not met the junior-year eligibility requirements but can show they are on the right track. "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," Rashid said.

The plan would most likely not affect the system's elite campuses, such as Berkeley and Los Angeles, but less selective colleges could "see a substantial shift in the makeup of their freshman classes," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Several regents remain skeptical, and new UC President Mark Yudof, attending his first regents meeting yesterday, has asked for more time to review the changes. Said a UC regent: "This is too important to rush through and too important to delay."