Report 2019-113 Recommendation 5 Responses
Report 2019-113: The University of California: Qualified Students Face an Inconsistent and Unfair Admissions System That Has Been Improperly Influenced by Relationships and Monetary Donations (Release Date: September 2020)
Recommendation #5 To: University of California
To ensure that the university maintains a fair and consistent admissions process, the Office of the President should require each campus to take the following actions:
- By March 2021, document and implement a selection methodology that describes how it will choose applicants for admission, particularly when the applicants have received similar ratings from application readers. Further, the selection strategy should specify the reasons why a campus may choose an applicant with a low or uncompetitive rating instead of an applicant with a higher rating.
- Develop and implement processes to use when selecting applicants for admission for identifying applicants whom it has selected for admission and who are not eligible for admission to the university, and record their rationale for admitting those applicants despite their ineligibility.
6-Month Agency Response
The University president has required all campuses to implement this recommendation and to document the processes and procedures, via a letter sent in November 2020. All campuses have submitted documentation that outlines principles and methodology for choosing applicants, processes for accepting ineligible applicants, and processes for coding admissions by exception. The Office of the President has reviewed each campus's submissions to ensure the new processes and procedures will address the recommendation. Seven out of nine campuses have successfully completed the requirements. There are gaps in criteria and clarity on some of the processes for the remaining two campuses. UCOP has requested additional documentation.
- Estimated Completion Date: June 2021
- Response Date: March 2021
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending
The Office of the President acknowledges that the UC has not fully implemented this recommendation. However, we disagree with its characterization of the progress that the campuses have made in implementing the recommendation. For example, the Office of the President stated that all campuses had outlined principles and methodology for choosing applicants, but when we reviewed the campus documentation that the Office of the President provided to substantiate that statement, we found that several campuses had documented insufficient and vague descriptions of their processes for selecting applicants for admission. Campuses described general characteristics that they consider when evaluating applicants, but did not specifically articulate a priority order for how they would decide which applicants they would admit. Particularly lacking from some statements was a description of how the campus would decide between similarly rated students. Of particular concern was that San Diego's selection methodology was less specific than the methods we reviewed from that campus during our original audit. These vague policies and procedures do not correct the problematic ambiguity that we identified in the campuses' admission processes, and fail to provide needed transparency in admission decisions.
We will consider this recommendation to be fully implemented when the Office of the President provides documentation demonstrating that each campus has documented polices and procedures specifying their methodologies for making admissions decisions as we describe in the recommendation.
60-Day Agency Response
The University president has issued a letter to the campus chancellors to implement this recommendation immediately and provide documentation of follow-through no later than January 15, 2021.
- Estimated Completion Date: March 2021
- Response Date: November 2020
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
The Office of the President provided the letter it sent to the campus chancellors. We will consider this recommendation fully implemented when the Office of the President adopts a formal requirement that campuses take these actions.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.