Ties to Donors at California Universities
In the wake of the Varsity Blues scandal, California’s State Assembly has passed a bill that will require colleges that are eligible to receive Cal Grants to disclose how they treat applicants who happen to have ties to alumni and/or donors. The bill, known as AB 697, now heads to the desk of California Governor Gavin Newsom so it can be signed into law. So what exactly is this bill and how will it impact legacy and/or development applicants to universities in California?
California Advances Bill to Force Colleges to Disclose Applicant Ties to Alumni and/or Donors
As reports Jenni Fink for Newsweek in a piece entitled “After Admissions Scandal, California Colleges May Have To Say If Applicants Tied To Donors, Alumni Get Special Treatment,” “Under [Assemblymember Phil] Ting’s bill, colleges and universities that qualify for the Cal Grant Program will have to report any preferential treatment that’s given to applicants during the admissions process because of the prospective student’s relationship to a donor or alumni. Reports would be submitted on a yearly basis from 2020 through 2024. If preferential treatment is given, a further breakdown would be required, including the number of applicants who did not meet admission standards, but were offered a spot, accepted and enrolled at the institution. The report would also have to include information on the number of applicants connected to donors or alumni that met admission standards.”
Bill Would Impact UC Schools, Stanford, USC
And which universities would be impacted by this bill, among our nation’s highly selective ones? All UC schools, including the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California – Los Angeles, would be impacted along with Stanford University and the University of Southern California. So, yes, private schools in California — if they are Cal Grant eligible — would be impacted as well. But while we at Ivy Coach support the passage of AB 697, do we really believe it’ll lead a school like Stanford to not offer preferential treatment to applicants with ties to major donors? No. But we do think that any spotlight that can be shined on this practice is good and we do think it’ll lead these schools to think twice before they offer admission to a totally unqualified applicant who just happens to be the child of a major donor.
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