December 29, 2000
The University of California, in an effort to put students' interests first, announced today (Dec. 22) that it will offer eligibility for fall 2001 admission to students who applied to UC and met the requirements of UC's new "Eligibility in the Local Context," or "4 percent," program but whose schools did not forward the transcripts necessary to include them in the program.
"We intend to guarantee these deserving students a place at UC because they should not be disadvantaged by the fact that their schools did not participate in this process," said C. Judson King, UC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "We regret any confusion or distress these students may have suffered, and we look forward to welcoming them into the University of California community."
King stressed, however, that the university still needs the cooperation of local high schools. Those schools that did not participate in the "Eligibility in the Local Context" (ELC) program this year will be given until Jan. 26, 2001, to provide UC with a list of the top 4 percent of students in their senior classes, based on grades. Students who are not already UC-eligible under the university's statewide eligibility criteria, who met the course requirements of the ELC program, and who applied to UC this fall will be guaranteed a space in the UC system, though not necessarily at their campus of choice.
It is unclear precisely how many students are affected by this decision, though UC officials estimate they may number a few hundred. Of the students in the top 4 percent at any individual school, many may already be eligible for UC under the university's statewide criteria and thus be unaffected by this process. Overall, the university estimated that 11,000 students would come under the ELC program, but that since many of them also would be eligible under the statewide criteria, the number of students made eligible solely by the ELC program would be about 3,600.
"This decision in no way implies that we concede the claims of the recent lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union," King said. "On the contrary, UC made extensive efforts to inform schools of this program and to encourage their participation in it. We do not know why some of them did not participate. However, at this point, our goal is to do what is in the students' best interest."
The UC Board of Regents adopted the ELC program in March 1999 as an additional "path" to UC eligibility. Eligibility indicates that a student has met the university's basic academic requirements, and it guarantees the student a place somewhere in the UC system. Admission to a specific campus is a second, separate stop in the process.
Students can become UC-eligible under statewide criteria, which consist of high school grades and scores on standardized tests. Under the ELC program, being implemented this year for the first time, students can also become UC-eligible by ranking in the top 4 percent of their high school class, based on their grades in UC-required courses.
The Regents adopted the program in order to broaden access to the university for students who have done outstanding academic work in high school but who have not met the statewide criteria for UC eligibility. It was adopted in an effort to ensure that high-performing students from all areas of the state, including students in rural and urban schools, would have access to UC regardless of the level of course offerings or other educational opportunities at their schools.
UC sent a series of letters to California school superintendents, high school principals and counselors in 1999 and 2000, describing the program and encouraging their participation in it. The university also held a number of workshops for school officials, developed a Web site for the ELC program, and publicized the program in newsletters and other materials.
Each high school was asked to submit, by July 15, transcripts for the top 10 percent of their junior class. The university granted automatic extensions to July 31 for all who requested one. After receiving the transcripts, UC evaluated the students' records on the basis of performance in UC-required course and extended eligibility for fall 2001 admission to the top 4 percent of students in each school.
Approximately 84 percent of California public high schools submitted transcripts for the ELC program by the deadline.
Now, UC will write to the 134 California public high schools and 97 accredited private high schools that did not participate and ask them to forward, by a postmark date of Jan. 26, a list of the top 4 percent of their students. Of that group, those students who applied to UC, who are not already otherwise eligible for UC, and who met the requirements of the ELC program by completing 11 UC-required courses by the end of their junior year will be granted eligibility for admission.
King said the university is offering this opportunity on a one-time basis, given that the ELC program is in its first year of implementation. UC will be conducting a full review of the program's first year to identify any barriers to schools' participation in the original process and to make any improvements that would encourage more schools to participate in future years.