Statement on California State University Not Pursuing Change to Eligibility Requirements
Today, we applaud The California State University’s (CSU) decision to affirm its commitment to equal opportunity to college access and success over unnecessary admission changes without input from K-12 that would have had disparate impact on the eligibility of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, first-generation, rural, and low-income students. Over 100 education leaders, organizations, editorial boards, and community and civil right organizations opposed the CSU’s proposal to add a year of quantitative reasoning to eligibility requirements.
“California has talented students across every zip code that are counting on the CSU as The People’s University for their chance to earn a college degree, achieve their dreams, and transform their lives. That is why students, higher education advocates, civil rights and community organizations, and legislative leaders came together to protect access to the CSU and oppose an unproven and unnecessary addition to eligibility requirements. This proposal would have grown disparity in access to college opportunity and specifically harmed California’s most vulnerable rural, low-income, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students. We are grateful to the Trustees for thoughtfully examining the impacts of this proposal and for standing on the right side of civil rights and educational equity,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of The Campaign for College Opportunity.
If California is to meet the challenges that lie ahead, we need more students to have access to our public universities and get across the graduation stage. At a time when college enrollment rates are declining at some campuses, we must support students and expand access.
The additional quantitative reasoning requirements would have set students and California back. The change ignored the disparity in access to college preparation courses (A-G), already a significant problem in rural and low-income school districts across the state. As a result, the overall eligibility of high school graduates would have decreased from 41% to 34%, with Black students declining in eligibility from 31% to 24% and Latinx students from 32% to 26%, causing a yearly loss of over 5,600 eligible students.
CSU is now rightly exploring new strategies to ensure incoming students are supported to succeed academically. Such strategies include investing in increasing the number of A-G eligible high school graduates, providing additional support to incoming first-year students, enhancing partnerships with PK-12 districts, and increasing the number of qualified teacher candidates. We commend the shift in priorities from creating additional barriers to strengthening student achievement.
We thank the CSU Board of Trustees and the leadership behind the Academic Preparation and Quantitative Reasoning report for listening to the members of our communities who offered their concerns on the inequitable impacts that a new admission requirement would have, particularly on low-income schools and districts and rural communities. A special thank you to The Education Trust-West, Just Equations, and all of our education leaders and partners who have advocated for prioritizing equal opportunity to college access and success.
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