Plan to Boost Minority Enrollment at UC Campuses Stalled for Lack of Funds
An attempt to boost minority enrollment at the University of California by guaranteeing admission to the top 12.5 percent of each high school class has stalled for lack of funds.
The UC board of regents voted in July to make the change, which extended a previous guarantee of eligibility to students who graduated in the top 4 percent of their class. But the Legislature recessed last month without appropriating the money needed to set up the program.
“The legislative clock ran out on us,” UC spokesman Michael Reese said last month.
UC’s overall admissions policy is to draw from the top 12.5 percent of all students statewide. But because of the varying quality of high schools, that has meant that good schools sent a lot of students to the university system while poor schools sent few.
Currently, the top 4 percent of students from each high school in the state are assured admission to one of the University of California’s nine campuses. Under the new policy, known as “dual admissions,” students who fell between the top 4 percent and 12.5 percent of their class also would have been assured admission to the university system if they attended community college for their first two years and met a minimum grade-point average.
UC had estimated it would take about $9 million to operate the program for the first three years, with the money going to hire counselors and set up an extensive Web tracking system students could use to check their status.
UC President Richard C. Atkinson had promised regents he would not move forward on the program without the money to support it. Dual admissions have been postponed, not canceled, and Reese said the budget picture could change in January.
Some UC campuses have been working on their own dual admission programs, but those will extend to only a few community college districts.
Regents had approved the admissions change systemwide effective for fall 2003. UC estimated dual admissions would bring between 1,500 and 3,500 new students into the University of California system by 2006. They estimated that up to 36 percent of students eligible under the new policy would be Black, Hispanic or American Indian. Enrollment of those groups dropped sharply after UC dropped its old affirmative action programs in 1998.
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