2018 Undergraduate Admissions University of California

14,883 Deserving California Students May Have Wrongly Been Denied Seats  

Call to Action:

We need to get the Legislature to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Auditor of The University of California. California Residents Deserve Equal Opportunity For Admission to a UC. 

 

By Dawn Urbanek | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | The Equity Project|                                                  

The UC Master Plan Defines the UC's Obligations to California's High School Graduates 

The University of California is a taxpayer funded educational institution that operates under a Master Plan that requires California residents to be given priority enrollment. 

1. Differentiation of functions among the public postsecondary education segments:

• UC is designated the state's primary academic research institution and is to provide undergraduate, graduate and professional education. UC is given exclusive jurisdiction in public higher education for doctoral degrees (with a few exceptions--see CSU below) and for instruction in law, medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.

• CSU's primary mission is undergraduate education and graduate education through the master's degree including professional and teacher education. Faculty research is authorized consistent with the primary function of instruction. CSU is authorized to independently award four specific doctoral degrees – the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and doctoral degrees in Audiology (Au.D.), Physical Therapy (DPT), and Nursing Practice (DNP). Other doctorates can be awarded jointly with UC or an independent institution.

• The California Community Colleges have as their primary mission providing academic and vocational instruction for older and younger students through the first two years of undergraduate education (lower division). In addition to this primary mission, the Community Colleges are authorized to provide remedial instruction, English as a Second Language courses, adult noncredit instruction, community service courses, and workforce training services.

2. Access and differentiation of admissions pools. The establishment of the principle of universal access and choice, and differentiation of admissions pools for the segments:

• UC was to select from among the top one-eighth (12.5%) of the high school graduating class. 

• CSU was to select from among the top one-third (33.3%) of the high school graduating class. 

• Calif. Community Colleges were to admit any student capable of benefiting from instruction.  

Access Guarantee.

Subsequent policy has modified the Master Plan to provide that all California residents in the top one-eighth or top one-third of the statewide high school graduating class who apply on time be offered a place somewhere in the UC or CSU system, respectively, though not necessarily at the campus or in the major of first choice. State law affirms the state’s commitment to fund all eligible California residents:

The University of California and the California State University are expected to plan that adequate spaces are available to accommodate all California resident students who are eligible and likely to apply to attend an appropriate place within the system. The State of California likewise reaffirms its historic commitment to ensure that resources are provided to make this expansion possible, and shall commit resources to ensure that [eligible] students ….. are accommodated in a place within the system.” [CA Education Code 66202.5]

 

Data Quest Report Totals 2017-18 Public School Graduates (Private School not included)

There were 418,205 High School Graduates in 2018. 208,769 met UC or CSU requirements.

52,276 California students were in the top 12.5%. To comply with the Master Plan Mandate all 52,276 students must be offered an "appropriate" seat at a UC campus.

The University of California is Failing to Meet the Master Plan Mandate

The University of California is not fulfilling its Master Plan Mandate when it places California students who are in the Top 12.5% of their graduating class to a referral pool to UC Merced. Only 1% to 2% of these students accept enrollment at UC Merced because most of these students have qualifications that are more in line with UC Flagship colleges such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD, UCI, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. While the UC denies California Residents a seat at the campus of their choice, the University of California does not refer nonresidents to campuses they did not choose to attend. California students are being disadvantaged by this inequity. Why is the University of California treating California Residents different from nonresident students when it comes to school choice? 

2018 University of California Admissions Data

In 2018 there were 120,089 California students that applied to a UC school. Of that, 71,773 California students received an admit. Each UC applicants applied to an average of 3.7 campuses. 2018 University of California Accountability Plan

Since students apply to multiple UC campuses, the 71,773 "admits" could be for as few as 17,943 students. (71,773 divided by 4 campus applications = 17,943 students). Some California students get multiple admits to UC flagship schools, but some California students are not getting any admits. Instead they are placed on a waitlist or put into a referral pool to UC Merced. UC Merced is not the "appropriate" placement for any student in the top 9% of the State High School Graduating Class.

 

All California High School Graduates who are in the Top 12.5% of their graduating class should be guaranteed a seat at an "appropriate" UC; not placed on a waitlist or in a referral pool to UC Merced when they are qualified to have a seat at a flagship school like UC Berkeley or UCLA. 

According to a 2015 Audit

"University campuses denied admission to nearly 4,300 residents whose academic scores met or exceeded all of the median scores for nonresidents whom the university admitted to the campus of their choice"

California State Auditor Summary Results in Brief 2015 Audit

"Furthermore, over the past 10 years, the university began denying admission to an increasing number of residents to the campuses of their choice. If residents are eligible for admission to the university and are not offered admission to the campuses of their choice, the university offers them spots at an alternative campus through what it calls a referral process. In contrast, nonresidents, if admitted, are always admitted to at least one campus of their choice. Of particular concern is that, over the same time period, the university’s campuses denied admission to nearly 4,300 residents whose academic scores met or exceeded all of the median scores for nonresidents whom the university admitted to the campus of their choice. According to the university, the referral process is critical to it meeting its Master Plan commitment to admit the top 12.5 percent of residents. However, few of the residents whom the university admits and refers to an alternate campus ultimately enroll. In academic year 2014–15 for example, 55 percent of residents to whom the university offered admission to one of the campuses to which they applied enrolled, while only 2 percent of the 10,700 residents placed in the referral pool enrolled."

Supporting Data

The top 12.5% of California Public High School Graduates was 52,276. Did the University of California sell the seats of 14,883 California Public High School Graduates last year? 

37,393 California High School Graduates Enrolled in a UC College.

33,802 were from California Public High Schools

  3,591 were from California Private High Schools

52,276 California Public School Graduates - 37,393 = 14,883  

14,883 California High School Graduates that applied to the UC should have been admitted and guaranteed a seat at one of the schools of their choice, just like the nonresident students.

University of California

2018 New Student Admissions - Freshmen

Source: Undergraduate Admissions Summary

2018

University of California New Student Admissions 

Applicants Admits Enrollees 
All Institutions 182,129 Applied  107,439 % Admitted  Admitted  46,677 Enrolled 
CA Private High School   14,185 7.78% California Resident 120,089 65.93%  8,677 8.07% 59% of Applicants Received Admits  California Resident 71,773 66.76% 3,591 7.69%

California Resident

37,393

 80% 

CA Public School  105,904 58.14% 63,096 58.72% 33,802 72.41%
Out of State  36,605 20.09%

Non  Resident  61,140 33.71% 

19,450 18.10%

53% of Applicants Received Admits Non  Resident 35,666 33.19%  4,296 9.20%

     Non

Resident

9,292

20%

International   24,805 13.62% 16,216 15.09% 65% of Applicants Received Admits  4,966 10.63%

 

International and Out of State students are guaranteed a seat at one of their schools of choice; not placed in a referral pool and referred to UC Merced as their only option, especially when some California Residents were more qualified than the nonresident students that were admitted to a UC of their choice. 

In 2018 nonresident enrollment was 20%. The Auditor recommended that the Legislature cap nonresident enrollment at 5% in order to ensure that all eligible California students would have an "appropriate" seat at a UC school.  

Source: Report 2015-17 Recommendations Number 5

California Audit Recommendation

"To ensure that the university does not base future admission decisions on the revenue that students generate, the Legislature should consider amending state law to limit the percentage of nonresidents that the university can enroll. For example, the Legislature could require that the university limit nonresident enrollment to 5 percent of total undergraduate enrollment. To accomplish this, the Legislature should consider requiring that the university's annual appropriations be based on enrolling agreed-upon percentages of residents and nonresidents".

California's Best and Brightest Students Deserve Better

"From academic years 2010–11 through 2014–15, total nonresident enrollment at the university increased by 82 percent, or 18,000 students, while resident enrollment decreased by 2,200 students, or 1 percent." Audit Summary

When the University of California chooses to deny a seat to a qualified California High School Graduate in order to "sell" that seat to a non-resident, the UC increases their revenues substantially.

14,883 California students were denied seats X $44,932.42 (Nonresident Tuition)= $668,729,207

$668,729,207 X 4 years = $2,674,916,828

$2.7 billion dollars is a big incentive to grow Out of State and International enrollment even if it is at the expense of California students.

In addition to "selling" the seat of a California student at $44,932.42 per seat, the State of California retained taxpayers money paid to the State to guarantee University of California seats to the Top 12.5% of California's High School graduates. 

As a result of the University of California's admission policy, California families have been financially injured. 

California taxpayers already pay the highest income tax in the United States. 

California families denied a seat at a UC have additional fiscal harm. They are forced to spend hundreds of thousands in increased tuition expense to get their children into "appropriate" four year colleges outside of the UC system (a 4-year highly selective College or University comparable to a flagship school like a UCLA or UC Berkeley). 

For an example of a 4- year highly selective college or university comparable to a flagship college like UCLA or UC Berkeley:

2018 Tuition at USC (USC is a Private University. Tuition is the same for residents and nonresidents)  $55,320.00 X 4 years = $221,280 per student

14,883 qualified students were denied an appropriate seat at a UC campus. If they applied to comparable 4- year highly selective Colleges and Universities they probably had to pay similar tuition to the UC example.

14,883 X $221,280 = $3,293,310,240 

$3.3 Billion Dollars in increased tuition expense because the State of California and the UC failed to meet their commitment to California residents.

The money is not the only harm. California families that did not have the money to send their student to a more expensive school had no choice but to accept enrollment at Merced, a CSU or go to Community College and try to transfer into a more appropriate UC later. Even if a student accepted the referral pool option to UC Merced, they may not have been able to transfer to a different UC campus because California Community Colleges get priority enrollment as a transfer.   

It's All About the Money

The University of California defended its need to increase nonresident enrollment because of the great recession.

According to the 2015 University of California Audit Summary:

"From academic years 2010–11 through 2014–15, total nonresident enrollment at the university increased by 82 percent, or 18,000 students, while resident enrollment decreased by 2,200 students, or 1 percent".

It is now 2019. The State of California is enjoying record high revenues and has in fact accumulated $66 billion in new revenue since 2007-08. The State has money to adequately fund the UC so that it can meet its obligations to California students and California taxpayers. 

The State is choosing not to meet its legal obligations to California students and taxpayers.

Education is the State of California's number one Constitutionally mandated spending priority, the University should demand the funding it needs to meet its legal mandate and should cap its nonresident enrollment to 5%.

California Budget

The State of California

Has Increased Revenues by 

$66 Billion Since 2007-08

 

 

"The University of California and the California State University are expected to plan that adequate spaces are available to accommodate all California resident students who are eligible and likely to apply to attend an appropriate place within the system. The State of California likewise reaffirms its historic commitment to ensure that resources are provided to make this expansion possible, and shall commit resources to ensure that [eligible] students ….. are accommodated in a place within the system.” [CA Education Code 66202.5]

2019-20 $209,069,327 
2018-19 190,319,420 
2017-18 179,450,102 
2016-17 170,727,252 
2015-16 164,703,066 
2014-15 154,937,996 
2013-14 145,826,550 
2012-13 137,327,827 
2011-12 127,370,952 
2010-11 118,755,483 
2009-10 134,764,078 
2008-09 141,038,573 
2007-08 143,408,832 

 

The State has made a choice to limit public education funding since 2007-08; choosing instead, to fund new programs and entitlements that are not Constitutionally mandated. Former Governor Brown chose to fund his High Speed Rail project at a cost of $55 billion rather than fund public education. 2018 California's 5-Year Infrastructure Plan at page 130

In the State's 2018 Infrastructure budget, the State allocated $576 million to Education infrastructure projects.  All of the education infrastructure funding is going to Community Colleges. Not a single penny was allocated to K-12 facilities or the University of California. The State Legislature has made a choice to allocate 90% of its infrastructure budget to Transportation/High Speed Rail. As a result, the University of California was financially driven to increase revenues and build capacity in ways that harmed California Taxpayers by denying enrollment to California students. 

The State has chosen to limit funding for Public Education, ignoring its promise to California taxpayers and the 12.5% of California's High School Graduates.

The University of California is not in compliance with its Master Plan Mandate because it is not providing "approriate" placement for the top 12.5% of California's High School Graduates. Instead, the University of California is chosing to deny educational opportunity to California's top 12.5% of High School Graduates by ignoring what constitutes the "appropriate" placement for an individual student in order to provide educational opportunity to out of state and international students for a profit. 

Unjust Enrichment

The University of California's failure to fully comply with its Master Plan Mandate (providing California students with "appropriate" placement) unjustly enriched the University of California at the expense of California taxpayers. California's top 12.5% of high school graduates who were denied access to an "appropriate" UC were denied educational opportunity so that the UC could profit at their expense.

California families who's children were wrongly denied a seat at the "appropriate" UC already pay substantial taxes to support the University of California and it's very highly paid staff. These same families were then forced to pay double in tuition at another 4-year highly selective College or University at increased expense in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

This appears to be in violation of State Law, and the University of California's Master Plan Mandate.

Further, this denies equality of educational opportunity to qualified California students which is a violation of their individual civil rights. It now seems obvious that referring these students to UC Merced was not an "appropriate" placement for 98% of the referrals.

California LAO The 2019-20 Budget: Higher Education Analysis page 43

"Many Students Not Getting Into Campus of Choice. Although UC is admitting all eligible freshman applicants, some of these applications are redirected to Merced. In fall 2017, 10,700 eligible freshman applicants (14 percent) were referred to Merced. Very few of these students (119 or 1.1 percent) elected to enroll at that campus. Students who do not accept admission at UC may end up attending CSU, a private school, or a community college (then transferring to a four-year school, including UC, upon completing their lower-division coursework). Supporting more enrollment growth could enable UC to accommodate more applicants at their campus of choice. The Legislature could weigh this benefit against its other budget priorities." 

It looks like both the California LAO missed the importance of the Master Plans Mandate that California students be "appropriately" placed.

University of California Master Plan

Access Guarantee

"The University of California and the California State University are expected to plan that adequate spaces are available to accommodate all California resident students who are eligible and likely to apply to attend an appropriate place [not UC Merced] within the system"

The California LAO misunderstands that the "Referral Pool" is not made up of students who need to complete their lower-division coursework, these are students who are California's top 9%... the best and brightest who deserve a seat at the UC of their Choice, not to be referred to UC Merced. That is why 98.9% of the students rejected the offer to attend UC Merced. Many are qualified to attend flagship schools like UCLA and Berkeley so they of course attend similar schools (ie USC) outside the University system.

Conclusion:

California Students and Their Families Deserve Recompense

Both the State of California and the University of California have been unjustly enriched by allowing the unfair practices to continue. These families have been fiscally injured, and these students have been denied the "appropriate" educational opportunity that was guaranteed to them by both the State of California and the University of California. 

(1) California families that have been financially damaged should be given a financial remedy as recommended by the Auditor.

The university’s decision to increase nonresident enrollment at the expense of residents will have a long-lasting impact unless the Legislature and the university take steps to restore the university’s historic commitment to residents. These steps must not only ensure that the university prioritizes residents’ interests in the future but also repairs the damage that its past decisions have caused. In November 2015—during the course of our audit— the university committed to enrolling an additional 10,000 more residents over the next three fiscal years. However, the enrollment of 10,000 additional residents will not fully rectify the ramifications of its decision to admit nonresidents while referring or denying admission to more qualified resident applicants. 

(2) California taxpayers deserve a criminal investigation into the admission practices of the University of California. 

(3) The State of California has failed to meet its Constitutional obligation to provide an "appropriate" seat for ALL top 12.5% of California High School Graduates. The Auditor made recommendations that the Legislature has an obligation to take seriously and to implement. The Legislature failed to implement the Auditors recommendations for UC Admissions. Perhaps their should be an investigation into the lack of action on the part of the California Legislature to follow California law. 

(4) The California State Legislature has a legal obligation to implement a 5% cap on nonresident enrollment to prevent the Class of 2020 from being equally discriminated against. 

(5) The current Class of 2019 California High School Graduates that are in the top 12.5% of their graduating class that feel they have been denied an appropriate seat at the University of California can:

Secretary Betsy DeVoss
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
1-800-872-5327

File a Civil Rights Complaint with the Federal Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Telephone: 1-800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 1-800-877-8339
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

and/or contact the FBI in Boston that is currently doing a separate Investigation of College Admissions and Testing Bribery Scheme 

John Joseph Moakley
United States Federal Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: (617) 748-3100 or
TTY (617) 748-3696
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(6) The Class of 2020 Graduating High School Seniors should contact their elected representatives in the California Legislature and demand that the Auditor's recommendation of a 5% cap on nonresident enrollment be implemented so that the top 12.5% of the Class of 2020 will not be denied access to admission to the appropriate UC next year. Make the State of California and the University of California keep their promise to you. You can also contact Assembly Member Kevin McCarty, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance (Just held a Hearing on the UC Admissions Scandal).

California Assembly Members

California State Senators

Statewide Path

The Class of 2020 needs to be aware that the University of California has changed its policy again. The University of California admissions Statewide Path is now stating that If you're in the top 9% percent of California high school graduates and aren't admitted to any of the UC campuses you apply to, you'll be offered a spot at another campus if space is available

The University of California Master Plan Mandate requires the University have a seat for all California High School Graduates that are in the top 12.5% of their Class. If this is allowed to stand, the UC could sell all of it's seats and deny access to all California Residents because no space would be available.  

  

2015 Audit of the University of California

A Scathing 2015 Audit shows the profound long term damage that has been done to California students and taxpayers.

AUDIT FINDINGS - 2015-107

California State Auditor Report Number 2015-107

Fact Sheet (PDF) 

Summary 

Full Report (HTML) Full Report (PDF) 

Recommendations 

Testimony (PDF) Video

2015 Audit of the University of California entitled University of California: Its Admissions and Financial Decisions Have Disadvantaged California Resident Students the auditor concluded that: 

"As a public institution, the university should serve primarily those who provide for its financial and civic support—California residents. However, over the past several years, the university has failed to put the needs of residents first."

"From academic years 2010–11 through 2014–15, total nonresident enrollment at the university increased by 82 percent, or 18,000 students, while resident enrollment decreased by 2,200 students, or 1 percent."

"The decision to increase nonresident enrollment has had profound repercussions for residents who apply for admission. According to the Master Plan for Higher Education in California (Master Plan), which proposed the roles for each of the State’s institutions of higher education, the university should select for admission from the top 12.5 percent of the State’s high school graduating class."

Full Audit Report: Summary- Results in Brief

"The University of California (university) is one of the premier public university systems in the nation, enrolling more than 252,000 students at its 10 campuses as of the fall of 2014. As a public institution, the university should serve primarily those who provide for its financial and civic support—California residents. However, over the past several years, the university has failed to put the needs of residents first. In response to reduced state funding, it has made substantial efforts to enroll more nonresident students, who pay significantly more annual tuition and mandatory fees than resident students—$37,000 compared to $12,240 in academic year 2014–15. The results are stark: From academic years 2010–11 through 2014–15, total nonresident enrollment at the university increased by 82 percent, or 18,000 students, while resident enrollment decreased by 2,200 students, or 1 percent.

The decision to increase nonresident enrollment has had profound repercussions for residents who apply for admission. According to the Master Plan for Higher Education in California (Master Plan), which proposed the roles for each of the State’s institutions of higher education, the university should select for admission from the top 12.5 percent of the State’s high school graduating class. Based on the university’s interpretation, to comply with the Master Plan, the university guarantees admission to all residents who meet this standard, although not necessarily at the campuses of their choice. Although the university stated that its decision to enroll more nonresidents has not precluded it from meeting its Master Plan commitment to admit qualified residents, we do not believe that the university has sufficiently substantiated this claim."

Full Audit Report at page 34

"In addition to admitting nonresidents who are less academically qualified than the upper half of admitted residents, the university also admitted fewer residents to the campuses of their choice over the past several years. Specifically, the percentage of residents to whom the university denied admission to their campuses of choice increased from 23 percent in academic year 2005–06 to 38 percent in academic year 2014–15. If residents are eligible for admission to the university and the campuses of their choice do not offer them admission, the university offers them a spot at an alternative campus through what it calls a referral process. Under this process, eligible residents not admitted to any of the campuses to which they applied are placed into a referral pool. These residents can then accept admittance to an alternate campus, which is currently limited to Merced. According to the university, the referral process is critical to its meeting its Master Plan commitment to admit the top 12.5 percent of residents. However, very few residents [2%] actually enroll at the campus to which they are referred. Conversely, the university does not refer nonresidents to alternate campuses." [Denied California Students the Campus of their choice, but GUARANTEE Out of State and International students a school of their choice.]

Summary of Audit 5th Paragraph

"Furthermore, over the past 10 years, the university began denying admission to an increasing number of residents to the campuses of their choice. If residents are eligible for admission to the university and are not offered admission to the campuses of their choice, the university offers them spots at an alternative campus through what it calls a referral process. In contrast, nonresidents, if admitted, are always admitted to at least one campus of their choice. Of particular concern is that, over the same time period, the university’s campuses denied admission to nearly 4,300 residents whose academic scores met or exceeded all of the median scores for nonresidents whom the university admitted to the campus of their choice. According to the university, the referral process is critical to it meeting its Master Plan commitment to admit the top 12.5 percent of residents.  However, few of the residents whom the university admits and refers to an alternate campus ultimately enroll. In academic year 2014–15 for example, 55 percent of residents to whom the university offered admission to one of the campuses to which they applied enrolled, while only 2 percent of the 10,700 residents placed in the referral pool enrolled."

Report at page 43 & 44

"Legislative Intervention Could Help to Ensure That the University Meets Its Commitment to Residents The university’s decision to increase nonresident enrollment at the expense of residents will have a long-lasting impact unless the Legislature and the university take steps to restore the university’s historic commitment to residents. These steps must not only ensure that the university prioritizes residents’ interests in the future but also repairs the damage that its past decisions have caused. In November 2015—during the course of our audit— the university committed to enrolling an additional 10,000 more residents over the next three fiscal years. However, the enrollment of 10,000 additional residents will not fully rectify the ramifications of its decision to admit nonresidents while referring or denying admission to more qualified resident applicants.

Based on the university’s assertion that it increased nonresident enrollment because of decreases in state funding and rising costs, we would have expected it to decrease—or at least hold constant— its nonresident enrollment when state funding began to increase. Instead, as previously shown in Figure 3 on page 18, state funding has been increasing steadily since fiscal year 2012–13. However, the university has acknowledged that it intends to continue to admit increasing numbers of nonresidents, and in its 2016–17 operating budget, the university indicated that nonresident revenue continues to be a key part of its financial plan. Thus, until the university’s financial incentive to enroll nonresidents is mitigated, it will likely continue to admit increasing numbers of nonresidents."