The rates of African-American and Chicano/Latino student admission eligibility at the University of California increased in recent years, according to an updated study.
According to a report by the 2004-05 UC Eligibility and Admissions Study Group, 6.2 percent of African-American and 6.5 percent of Chicano/Latino high school students who applied to UC for the 2004-05 school year were eligible for admission. The percentages increased by about three percent, compared to the eligibility of California high school students in 1996 when race was still a factor considered in UC admissions, the study said. The report also found that the eligibility of white students increased from 12.7 percent to 16.2 percent and Asian student eligibility increased from 30 percent to 31.4 percent in the same time period.
UC President Robert C. Dynes chartered the Eligibility and Admissions Study Group in 2003 to conduct an analysis of undergraduate admissions to the UC, including the admission of different races and ethnicities. In its report, the group suggested it should reconvene every year to further study issues surrounding eligibility and university admissions.
MRC Greenwood, UC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, said the University would like to see even more African-American and Chicano/Latino students enrolled in the UC system. The ultimate goal of the University is to have the same percentage of minority communities on its campuses as there are on California high school campuses, better reflection of the state’s population. According to the study, 44.6 percent of public high school students are from underrepresented minority communities — such African-American and Chicano/Latino students — but only 18.5 percent of UC freshman were from the minority communities.
“It is the case that the admissions rates [for African-American and Chicano/Latino students] are statistically lower than we’d like them to be,” she said. “The admission for African-American and [Chicanos/]Latinos still need[s] a lot of work.”
UC admissions eligibility is determined by the completion of subject area “A-G” requirements, which include math and science classes in high school. The required grade point average for entrance to the 2004-05 school year was 2.82, according to the report. Greenwood, co-chair of the study group, said African-American and Chicano/Latino students need to improve their grades, in algebra courses for example, to increase their eligibility rates.
Greenwood said the UC has tried to help students from underrepresented communities prepare academically for college through its outreach programs. However, state budget cuts to these programs threaten their effectiveness, she said.
“In several cases we have doubled the eligibility rates in certain areas [with outreach programs],” Greenwood said.
Although minority admission and eligibility was up this year, the report also said “race and ethnicity are playing virtually no role in the admissions process.” Joanne Corday Kozberg, UC regent and co-chair of the study group, said the lack of race and ethnicity in the admission process brings the UC in compliance with California’s Proposition 209. The state’s voters passed the measure in Nov. 1996, banning race as a factor in university admissions or public employment.
“The bottom line is that there has been a good-faith effort on all the campuses to comply with Proposition 209,” Greenwood said.
Because the University no longer considers race in its admission process, African-American and Chicano/Latino admission rates now match the number the University predicted would have been admitted based on grades, test scores and extra-curricular activities alone, the study said. When race was still a considered factor, for example, 77.4 percent of African-American applicants to UC San Diego in 1997 were admitted, the report said.
Had race not been considered, the university predicted only 39 percent of the applicants would have been admitted. In 2003, after race had been banned as a considering factor for admission, 30.2 percent of African-American applicants were admitted while the UC had predicted 28.5 percent would have been granted admission.