Admission Plan Seeks to Boost UC Enrollment

Jennifer Bernardo

In an effort to increase enrollment in the University of California, the system is considering a dual admission plan that would allow for concurrent enrollment in a community college and a UC campus, according to UC spokesman Brad Hayward.

The proposal allows for admission eligibility to high school students who rank in the top 4 to 12.5 percent of their high school, but who are not eligible for freshman admission under the UC statewide eligibility criteria or the new top 4 percent-by-school plan.

The “Dual Admissions” plan allows qualifying students to be admitted to both a community college and UC at the same time. Qualifying students are notified that they have been admitted to a UC, but have to attend a community college first, to prepare for upper-division transfer. The plan calls for a joint effort between UC and community colleges to raise the total number of transfers to UC. This is in response to the state’s new partnership agreement with the University. The agreement may increase the number of community college transfers by approximately 50 percent, or up to 3,500 students, by 2005-2006.

Qualifying students will be informed of their eligibility for the Dual Admissions program and invited to apply. As they go on to community college, they will be given specific academic tracks to follow for upper-division transfer to UC.

The proposed program is designed to improve relations between UC and the California community colleges through enhanced academic preparation of students who want to earn baccalaureate degrees. Although California has a favorable number of high school graduates who move on to higher education, the numbers who actually earn their bachelor’s degrees are among the lowest in the country, according the UC Newswire.

It is too early to tell how the new admission plan will affect GCC, according to Sarkis Ghazarian, director of the transfer center.

The plan also aims to address the problem of education quality gaps in California high schools. High-achieving students in low-performing schools are identified and are given a clear path to take so that they can enter UC.

The Dual Admission plan will also provide financial aid counseling directed at low-income students so that they can attend school full-time. There will be expanded financial aid opportunities in the form of a “Baccalaureate Financial Aid Package” that will increase the average scholarship/grant assistance by about $1,400.

“The University of California is committed to expanding access and educational opportunities for all Californians,”said Board of Regents Chairman, S. Sue Johnson, in a statement on the Dual Admission proposal. “The proposed Dual Admission program provides a clear path for students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to attend and succeed at UC.”

The plan does not change the criteria for freshman eligibility; no students will be displaced across the UC system as a result of the broadened admissions. Students who are eligible for admission under the plan would be guaranteed admission somewhere in the UC system, not necessarily at the UC of their choice. However, they will be notified of the specific UC campus they have been admitted to directly out of high school, along with a guaranteed admission once they successfully complete their UC-approved community college coursework.

There is no specific implementation date established for the plan because it has to be reviewed by the UC faculty under UC’s shared governance, the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, and the UC regents.