Regents approve new path for UC admission

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

27 July 2001 | The UC Board of Regents on July 19 approved the Dual Admissions program, providing a new option for more of the state's top high school students to gain admissions to UC.

Under the new policy, high school students between the top 4 percent and 12.5 percent of their graduating class could transfer to a specific UC campus as a junior after completing two years of lower-division work at a community college — provided they complete the prerequisite courses and achieve the necessary grade point average required for their intended UC major.

Regents approved Dual Admissions on a 14-3 vote, with implementation scheduled in 2003.

"This provides an additional support base and path for transfer students," said Regent Judith Hopkinson. "This is an important obligation of the university."

Dual Admissions provides a fourth path for students entering the UC system. Other programs include standard statewide eligibility, traditional transfer, and Eligibility in the Local Context, which makes eligible for freshman admission the top 4 percent of state high school graduates.

UC President Richard Atkinson said Dual Admissions "sends a clear message to high-performing students — particularly those in disadvantaged schools that historically have sent few students to UC — that they have a straight-forward path to a UC degree."

Admission officials estimate that about 1,000 students will enter the program in 2003 — meaning they could enroll in UC in 2005 — with growth topping out at 3,500. However, the impact is expected to be minimal at Berkeley.

"It’s a great opportunity for these students to be admitted to UC, and we're pleased to see the addition of this option," said Pamela Burnett, director of Berkeley’s undergraduate admissions. "But the intense competition to get into Berkeley reduces our ability to provide substantial numbers of slots to students in the Dual Admissions program."

The Berkeley campus already offers all UC-eligible freshman applicants who are denied admission the opportunity to enroll as transfers if they take the appropriate courses and achieve a high GPA. In addition, Berkeley unveiled another program similar to Dual Admission last year. Under the pilot Fresh Start program, a handful of ineligible Berkeley applicants with high potential for academic success were offered a chance to transfer from community college to Berkeley as juniors, if they met the needed academic requirements.

The new Dual Admissions program will replace Fresh Start, said Burnett, but the 35 students already enrolled in the program will get the chance to complete their studies.

While some campuses will accept more Dual Admissions students than others — depending on competition and available space — all are committed to the program, Dorothy Perry, chair of the systemwide Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, told the Regents. The UC Academic Council also endorsed the program.

Community colleges and UC would have joint responsibility for monitoring the progress of Dual Admissions students, said Perry. The Office of the President projects the program’s total cost to be $2.5 million, which would pay UC counselors to work on site at community colleges around the state. Funding was requested in UC’s state budget this year, but was pulled in legislative conference. Atkinson said funding would be proposed in a separate bill in the near future.

While the current lack of money concerned several Regents, others felt it wasn’t a sufficient reason to block the proposal’s passage.

"This is an excellent program to meet our commitment," said Regent John Davies. "Financial constraint is an issue all our students face, not just those in Dual Admissions."

Regents also expressed other concerns with the program. Hopkinson worried that Dual Admissions students would have an advantage over those students accepted under Eligibility in the Local Context who may attend community college first.

"These students aren't getting the same support as the Dual Admissions students," she said. "They might purposely lower their high school GPA to take advantage of the program."

Perry said the systemwide admissions committee would explore expanding the program to cover these students.

Others worried that the program might potentially erode the academic quality of the student body.

"We've rescinded SP-1, instituted the 4 percent plan, and now there's talk of doing away with the SAT 1," said Regent Ward Connerly. "It seems like we're chipping away at quality."

Atkinson, Perry and several chancellors assured the board that these students will be subject to the same rigorous academic requirements as all other students. Michael Cowan, chair of the Academic Council, told Regents their concerns would be addressed before implementation of the plan.


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