Students intending to enroll at a University of California campus for Fall Quarter 2020, and potentially future applicants, will see a relaxation of the usual admission requirements, following a decision from the UC Office of the President aiming to relieve students affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Max Abrams / Daily Nexus

The decision, announced by the UC Office of the President (UCOP) this morning, will eliminate the letter grade requirement for A-G courses taken in the 2020 school year as well as the standardized testing requirement for students applying for Fall Quarter 2021 freshman admission. 

“The goal of these changes is to ensure a fair process that does not affect the life chances of students who, but for the coronavirus pandemic, would have become full-time students at the University of California,” Kum-Kum Bhavnani, chair of the UC Academic Senate, said in a press release sent out byUCOP. 

UC will also not rescind admission to students enrolling for fall 2020 who are unable to meet official transcript deadlines and will instead hold their admission status until transcripts are received by the campuses, through the first day of class, according to the press release. Typically, students are required to submit their high school transcripts to the UCs by July 1. 

Transfer students will also be able to bypass the usual limit on the number of units graded “pass/no pass” that can be transferred to UC to meet the minimum unit requirement for junior standing, according to the press release.   

The measures are temporary but could apply to students affected by the coronavirus pandemic “for future years as applicable,” according to the press release. 

The changes come after many high schools in the U.S. have been forced to shut down or move classes online, with some schools opting to grade units on a “pass/no pass” or “credit/no credit” basis. 

These modifications, as well as the cancellation of standardized testing and college entrance exams across the country, “had the potential to adversely affect not only the incoming freshman class, but all high school students seeking a UC education, making it challenging to meet University requirements,” according to the press release. 

UCOP’s decision to relax the SAT and ACT requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic comes two months after the UC Academic Senate recommended that the UC continue to require standardized testing for admissions applications. 

UC President Janet Napolitano is expected to make her own recommendation to the UC Board of Regents for a final decision on standardized testing – a decision separate from the temporary coronavirus pandemic UC measures – in May, the Nexus reported in February. 

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