UC Admissions Audit

The State of California recently completed an audit of the admissions practices at four of its University of California schools — UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, and UCSB. So what did the auditors find? We know you’re itching to know. Well, wonder no more. The auditors have declared that between the academic years of 2013–14 and 2018–19, 64 students at these institutions were unfairly admitted. These 64 students had connections to either donors or high powered faculty / staff members and they were admitted over more qualified applicants who didn’t boast such ties.

Majority of Students Who Were Unfairly Admitted to UC Schools Were White

As Teresa Watanabe reports for The Los Angeles Times in a piece entitled “UC admitted 64 well-connected or rich students over more qualified ones, audit finds,” “The audit…found that the majority of admitted students were white, and at least half had annual family income of $150,000 or more. Among them, 22 applicants were admitted as athletes despite having demonstrated little athletic talent, the audit said. UC Berkeley in particular came under fire, with auditors finding that the campus admitted an additional 42 applicants based on their connections to donors and staff, while denying admission to others who were more qualified. One was admitted after an ‘inappropriate letter of support’ from an unnamed UC regent, the audit said. Seventeen applicants with ties to donors or potential donors won entry despite receiving uncompetitive ratings from application readers.”

Sunlight Can Prove a Powerful Antiseptic to Unfair Practices at UC Schools

Do the findings of this audit surprise our readers in any way? And is water wet? In any case, hopefully the audit will shine a lantern on the unfair advantages offered well-connected students at California’s top public universities. As auditor Elaine M. Howle writes in the audit, “The Office of the President has allowed the weaknesses in these practices to persist because it has not conducted adequate oversight of campuses’ admissions processes…Stronger standards and oversight are necessary to improve the university’s ability to guarantee a fair and merit-based admissions process and to detect and prevent inappropriate admissions decisions.” Only time will tell if sunlight can prove a powerful antiseptic to this inequity in the UC admissions process.


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  • Sarah Eolim says:

    Admitted as athletes when they are not is fraud and should be banned. BUT I do think relatives of big donors should be admitted (or at least get a big break) because donors are, essentially, the financial lifeblood of a university. People who complain about donor’s kids getting in when they are receiving financial aid supplied by that donor are golden hypocrites and morons. If these whiners are smart enough to get in, they should be smart enough to figure out who is contributing to their free rides! And none of these ungrateful recipients of aid will probably ever give money back to their alma maters- even if they could. They possess the type of personality who helps no one but themselves. I do have a problem with unqualified ‘distant relatives’ or ‘family friends’ of donors getting in. I think it depends on how much money is being given and the relationship to the donor. I don’t like this practice of admitting sub-par candidates, but I think it’s common sense. Another thing NOBODY ever mentions us that lots of professors kids get in and they are just as unqualified as donors kids in many instances. You mentioned there are unqualified candidates getting in related to ‘staff’, which basically encompasses the entire university. I know several professors at Ivy League universities whose children are attending and they are far from qualified! Those professors are not giving anything in the way of money to the University by the way- they’re just getting!

  • Sarah Eolim says:

    And a lot of those professors are the same ones complaining about the donors kids getting in. That’s rich! No pun intended 🙂

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