UC and CSU adjust entrance requirements to help students affected by COVID-19

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Two major California college systems make temporary changes to their entrance policies softening the blow for students burdened by class restructuring.

By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor

Coronavirus closures have affected college campuses across the state causing some Monarchs to worry about their transfer prospects, but the UC and CSU systems have moved to help ease the process.

Last night the office of the President of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, signed off on the changes created by the UC Board of Regents. “We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said Chair of the Board of Regents John A. Pérez. “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 adjustments will consider COVID-19 related admission issues offering flexibility in basic course requirements, fees, deadlines and other issues. Valley College’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness estimates 27,000 students per year, based on totals from the 2017 and 2018 academic years, with a fall semester average of 17,000. In the 2018 and 2019 school years Valley awarded 3,452 certificates, AA and AA-T degrees. Students transferring to UC or CSU campuses in the fall of 2019 totaled 907 — 139 matriculated to UCs.

The announcement from the UC system addresses some student concerns about their ability to graduate and transfer with some added flexibility in their policies. Students who have received their acceptance letters have been assured their place if their transcripts, or fees, are received late. Letter grades for the A through G College Entrance Requirements courses have been suspended for winter, spring and summer of 2020. Also suspended are the caps on pass/fail units (toward the 60 semester or 90 quarter limit) for transfers who need junior standing. Those who have not met some of the requirements will have the ability to meet the standards without losing their admission, on a case by case basis at their school.

“These changes do not lower the bar for admission,” reads the UC statement, “but accommodate the real barriers students have faced as tests have been cancelled and classes have moved to pass/fail grading.”

The UC COVID-19 website includes some additional information for students in their FAQ stating that schools in the UC system will “work with families over the summer to review their eligibility for financial aid.”

Director of public affairs for the California State University Office of the Chancellor, Toni Molle, shared the CSU policy changes with the Valley Star. They include adjustments similar to the UC policy changes, but extends the A-G class changes, pass/fail acceptance, and several other policies, up to the Spring 2021 semester. Both systems seek to bring a sense of stability to future students who may be admitted under unique circumstances, but the CSU policy leaves more space for individual schools to work with students who may not have all of the classes they needed to apply.

In the past few weeks institutions have had to make rapid last minute adjustments to fast changing situations while offering normalcy and stability.

“The CSU system and CSU campuses are prepared to exercise flexibility and accommodation when working with our educational partners and fall 2020 applicants in meeting admission requirements and the subsequent steps toward enrollment,” reads the CSU policy statement. “Although there has been disruption as campuses transition to some or all staff working remotely, processing of admission applications and communications is continuing.”

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