Statement on the University of California’s Changes to Admissions Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
We applaud University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano, the Regents and faculty leaders for their decision to ease admissions requirements for 2021 applicants. Their rapid response will ensure both admitted and prospective students have the opportunity to attend the UC despite the disruption to education this pandemic has caused.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed and exacerbated underlying inequities in our K-12 educational systems. Many students are struggling with accessing basic technology and internet service to engage in online learning. First-generation students are unable to access the high-touch counseling and guidance they need to navigate their college admissions decisions if they are seniors or the college application process if they are juniors. More and more students are dealing with the stress and realities of job loss and illness in their families and may be realizing that their financial aid offers are no longer sufficient. Learning from home may pose a number of new challenges that have a negative impact on grades, jeopardizing grade point averages. Without intervention, these challenges could impact a student’s decision to enroll this fall or—for juniors in high school—to apply to the UC. UC’s bold move to ease admission requirements, however, will ensure all students have their rightful spot at the state’s premier research institution.