Report Cover

Shut Out: The Need to Increase Access to the University of California and California State University

In California and across the nation, the value of a college degree continues to increase. A bachelor’s degree, in particular, provides unrivaled economic and health benefits not just for the individual earning the degree, but for California. Therefore, it is not surprising to see more California high school students are striving to attend college and meet the eligibility requirements for our public universities. Unfortunately, these students are finding an increasingly competitive admissions environment as universities respond to the growing number of applicants for limited spots by raising the bar for admissions, especially as state funding to expand capacity fails to adequately fund every eligible student.

This report provides an update on California’s progress and persistent challenges related to admissions to the UC and CSU. While there is good news in this report, especially related to growing preparation for the university and growing student diversity in admissions, there are still many concerns preventing California from realizing a goal of equitable access to college for all Californians regardless of their income, race/ethnicity, or Zip Code. Without addressing the persistent inequality in preparation, access, and success to our universities we will fail to capitalize on the growing talent seeking college opportunity. In addition to analyzing trends in eligibility, admissions, and enrollment to the UC and CSU by race/ethnicity, we also review recent policy changes and campus practices that are impacting access and success. This report includes national examples of ways to increase bachelor’s degree capacity, and we make specific recommendations for policymakers and campus leaders toward ensuring that California can increase college access, improve college attainment, and close racial/ethnic gaps

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