By Arianna Puopolo
City on a Hill Press Editor
The UC Board of Regents voted Wednesday to eliminate the SAT II subject test as a requirement for admittance to a UC, part of a new eligibility reform policy.
In addition to eliminating the SAT II requirement, the reform will extend UC eligibility to students who have completed only 11 of 15 classes in the “A-G” subjects by the end of their junior year. The “A-G Coursework,” as the University of California’s website calls it, dictates how many years of classes in certain subject areas are required in order for high-school students to gain admission to schools in the UC system.
While students will have more time to complete this coursework with eligibility reform, students planning to attend a UC will still be required to complete all 15 A-G requirements prior to high-school graduation.
Mark Rashid, the UC Davis representative to the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), worked to develop this reform policy. He said the SAT II is an obstacle for many students who would otherwise be UC-eligible.
“There are many, many students who are ineligible and therefore not in the top 12 percent simply because they didn’t take the subject test,” Rashid said.
Currently the top 12 percent of all California students are eligible for admittance to the UC system. The eligibility reform policy will guarantee that all students ranked in the top 9 percent of their high school class and/or the top 9 percent of all students in the state will gain admittance to a UC. Every UC-eligible student will still have to go through an application review process.
Supporters of these reforms believe that they will create more diversity at the universities, since many students have previously been made ineligible due to the cost of the SAT II tests.
“We want to emphasize the importance of holistic review,” UC Student Association President Lucero Chavez said.
Regent Odessa P. Johnson acknowledged the concern that the new eligibility reform will jeopardize the quality of students at the UC.
“A lot of people think we’re lowering the standard when in fact we’re raising standards,” she said.
Also on Wednesday’s agenda was UC President Mark Yudof’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which will provisionally guarantee UC-admitted students whose families earn below $60,000 a one-year exemption from registration and education fees.
The plan, which is a modified version of the Financial Aid Initiative, was also unanimously approved. Still, the money to support the Blue and Gold Plan will be coming from student pockets, Yudof asserted, since another round of fee hikes appears inevitable. Those hikes will most likely be discussed when the regents meet next in March.
There has been speculation that the eligibility reforms and the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan are the UC’s attempts to get around California Assembly Bill 209, which forbids the UC from admitting students based on affirmative action.
President Yudof dismissed these claims, saying “No one told us we can’t enroll poor kids.”