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New Freshman Admission Policy Change

State of California
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor
1430 N Street, Suite 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-319-0827
Fax: 916-319-0175

March 12, 2009
For Immediate Release

Contact: Regina Wilson

Mark Yudof President of the University of California System Addresses the State Board of Education on New Freshman Admission Policy Change

Sacramento-- University of California (UC) President Mark Yudof and Dr. Mark Rashid, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis, addressed the State Board of Education (SBE) yesterday, highlighting freshman admissions requirements. The UC’s new policy eliminates the requirement of the SAT Subject Tests which won’t take effect until the fall 2012 entering class.

Under the existing policy, students with a high GPA that have taken the appropriate courses were not eligible if they did not take the SAT Subject Tests. Under this new policy, more of California’s high-achieving high school students will now have a chance to have their applications considered to attend the UC campuses. High school students that take 15 UC required college-preparatory courses, maintain a 3.0 GPA or better, and take the ACT with writing or the SAT Reasoning Test will be reviewed for admission. This policy change will now expand the pool of potential UC applicants by as many as 30,000 students. UC believes this new policy will almost double the number of African American and Latino students who apply.

“We are very pleased President Yudof came to share the new policy with the State Board Education. It is critical that California’s K-12 and higher education systems work together to meet the needs of our state, the aspirations of our students as well as the changes of  our global economy. Today’s discussion was enormously productive in moving that conversation forward,” said State Board of Education President Ted Mitchell.

The UC Academic Senate recently reviewed the requirements for UC admission. In their finding, they concluded that the SAT Subject Tests contribute little to the prediction of how well students will perform at UC once grades and ACT or SAT scores are already factored in. Additionally they found that UC was the only public higher education system that currently requires the SAT Subject Tests. Under the new policy, campuses can still recommend SAT Subject Tests for admission to particular majors if they choose and students can still submit the test scores but it is completely voluntary.

The Academic Senate’s Eligibility Reform policy, adopted by the Board of Regents in February, was designed to broaden the pool of students that campuses may consider for admission and, at the same time, raise the academic standards potential students must meet to be guaranteed admission to at least one UC campus. It does this by creating two categories of applicants. Students who meet requirements similar to those for current eligibility but without the SAT Subject Tests will be “entitled to review” (ETR). Within this larger ETR group, a subset of roughly half would be guaranteed a place at UC based on academic achievements that place them in the top 9 percent of California high school graduates either statewide or within their own school. 

“The new entitled-to-review status does not guarantee admission to a UC campus, but it will increase the number of high-achieving students that UC campuses will consider.In the past, these students might have been invisible to UC or might simply have been turned away because of the technicality of the SAT Subject Tests requirement,” said Yudof.

To learn more about the UC admission process please visit


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