Posted on February 5, 2009

Regents’ Panel OKs Big Change in UC Admissions

Patricia Yollin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2009

A lot more young people will have a shot at getting into the University of California under new eligibility rules, approved by a UC Board of Regents committee on Wednesday, that represent the most sweeping changes in admission standards in almost 50 years.

“The bottom line is that it will be more diverse and more fair,” said UC President Mark Yudof.

The full board is expected to approve these changes today:

–SAT subject tests would no longer be necessary.

–The pool of applicants who would be considered would widen, but the number guaranteed entry into one of the university’s nine undergraduate campuses would shrink.

–The top 9 percent of high school graduates statewide would be assured entry, compared with 12.5 percent previously, as well as those in the top 9 percent of their graduating class–up from 4 percent in the past.

Taken together, the two groups would constitute 10.1 percent of California’s graduating class, based on projections by the university.

The revised requirements would affect the freshman class of 2012.

The changes would allow high school students to be considered–and granted a full review of their application–who complete by the end of junior year at least 11 of 15 college prep courses required by UC, achieve a weighted 3.0 grade-point average and take either the ACT Plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test.

UC was the only public education system in the country that made students take two SAT subject tests. The result: 22,000 high school graduates in California who otherwise would have been eligible were disqualified in 2007 from applying to the university.

Figures based on ’07 data


Some people saw the shift–endorsed by the University of California Student Association–as a way to get around Proposition 209, which was approved by voters in 1996 and ended race- and gender-based anti-discrimination programs in state, county and city hiring, contracting and school admissions.

Yudof said he supported affirmative action but would obey Prop. 209 because it is the law. He was sure the new rules would increase diversity, but said it was too early to know the specific impact.


Although the changes dominated the meeting, few members of the public addressed them. Most, instead, were angry about soon having to contribute to their retirement fund without being represented on the pension board.


One protester was Ellie Corley, 72, an administrative assistant in the UC controller’s office who has worked at the university for 33 years and makes $35,000 a year.

She got laid off in January and will leave in March.

“The university talks about equity and inclusion,” Corley said. “I’ve never seen it.”