Despite widespread opposition, the UC Regents approved a raise in the minimum eligibility requirements for applying to a UC school from a 2.8 to 3.0 GPA.

Under the new requirement, approved Thursday in a 14 to 6 vote, high school graduates applying to a UC campus in 2007 must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in order to be eligible for a UC. The measure is part of a series of changes adopted by the UC to curb the eligibility rates among high school seniors so that it conforms more closely to the California Master Plan for Higher Education. The plan only targets a 12.5 percent eligibility rate among high school seniors, and a recent study by the California Postsecondary Education Committee (CPEC) found that 14.4 percent of California public high school graduates in 2003 are eligible to attend a UC campus.

The regents approved other admissions changes last July, such as which high school courses are included when calculating a GPA for UC eligibility. The changes were expected to reduce the pool of high school seniors eligible for admission from 14.4 percent to an estimated 13 percent.

In a statement, the regents said the new GPA requirement is in response the recent CPEC report. George Blumenthal, chair of the UC-wide Academic Council, said that student access to the University of California is crucial to the future of the state and increasing the GPA eligibility requirement was a difficult decision.

“Our faculty worked in very committed fashion to develop a plan that would emphasize academic achievement in high school, have the least negative impact on any one demographic group and provide adequate notice of the changes to students,” Blumenthal said in a written statement.

While statistics on the number of students from each demographic affected by the new GPA requirement are only projections, UC Office of the President spokesman Brad Hayward said the change would reduce the number of African-American students eligible to attend a UC school by 30 to 40 students. Eligible Latino students would decrease between 100 to 110 students. Eligible Asian American students would drop by 240 to 260 students, and the number of eligible white students would fall between 280 to 300 students.

Civil rights groups, Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, University of California Student Association and the Speaker of the State Assembly Fabian N