UC eases admissions requirements to help students, families amid COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2015, file photo, students walk on the University of California, Los Angeles campus. Xiaoning Sui, 48, of Surrey, British Columbia, is accused of paying $400,000 to get her son into the University of California, Los Angeles, as a fake soccer recruit. She has become the 52nd person charged in a sweeping college admissions bribery scheme, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Boston’s federal court. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

The University of California decided Tuesday night to relax undergraduate admissions requirements for students looking to enroll at a UC for fall 2020 and future years.

The system said it is suspending the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in winter, spring and summer 2020 for all students, including UC’s most recently admitted freshmen. The standardized test requirement for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission is also being suspended.

For transfer students, the UC system is temporarily suspending the cap on the number of transferable units with “pass/no pass” grading applied toward the minimum 60 semester/90 quarter units required for junior standing.

The UC system said these measures will help mitigate some of the extraordinary challenges students and their families face in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the Board of Regents, the governing board for UC. “By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors – including suspending the use of the SAT – for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”

The decision comes as the global health crisis has forced the closure of high schools across the country and prompted sudden shifts to remote instruction.

Some schools have adopted “pass/fail” or “credit/no credit” grading instead of letter grades for courses needed to qualify for UC admission. The UC system said this had the potential to adversely affect not only the incoming freshman class but all high school students seeking a UC education.

In addition to the system’s new measures, the College Board recently announced changes to the Advanced Placement exam and formats for spring 2020.

“UC recognizes the effort that students have already applied in these challenging courses and will award UC credit for 2020 AP exams completed with scores of 3, 4 or 5, consistent with previous years,” the organization said.

“The goal of these changes is to ensure a fair process that does not affect the life chances of students who, but for the coronavirus pandemic, would have become full-time students at the University of California,” said Kum-Kum Bhavnani, chair of the Academic Senate.

UC requests submission of final transcripts by July 1. If schools are unable or unsure about their ability to issue transcripts by this date, they may notify UC at AskUC@ucop.edu and include a date when transcripts are expected to be available.

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