New study offers solution to more qualified students being shut out of UC, CSU

UCLA is seen in an undated photo. (Los Angeles Times )

UCLA is seen in an undated photo. (Los Angeles Times )

If it seems harder than ever to get into the University of California and California State University — it is.

Nearly half of California high school graduates now qualify for admission to the state’s two public university systems — up from one-third in 2008. The share of them who apply to UC has grown from 17% in 2001 to 25% in 2020; for Cal State, the numbers went from 27% to 36% during that same period. But with limited seats, admission bars are rising: The average high school GPA of admitted UC students is now over 4.0 at most campuses, and 16 of 23 Cal State campuses have more applicants than seats for some or all of their majors.

As a result, tens of thousands of eligible students are being shut out — and the state can no longer meet its California promise of a UC and Cal State education for them.

The Campaign for College Opportunity released the latest data on the issue Wednesday, calling for swift action and innovative new approaches to address the crunch. The recommendations include a reset of the state’s 1960 higher education blueprint to increase enrollment by potentially 44,000 students with a statewide goal to equip 60% of Californians with a degree or certificate.

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