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Report 97-9: Eligibility of California's 1996 High School Graduates for Admission to the State's Public Universities: A Report of the California Postsecondary Education Commission

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

December 1997

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The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California established separate missions and functions for the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California. Significant among the differences was delineation of distinct pools of California's college-going population to be served by each public postsecondary system. The Master Plan encouraged both the California State University and the University of California to set its freshman admission criteria such that the top one-third and the top one-eighth of the public high school graduating class, respectively, would be eligible. These basic admission guidelines were reaffirmed in 1976 and 1987 when the Master Plan was reviewed.

Periodically, the California Postsecondary Education Commission has reviewed the congruence between the pools of public high school graduates eligible for the State University and the University under current eligibility criteria and these guidelines. This study of the 1996 public high school graduates is the eighth such study and the fifth completed by the Commission. This report includes a discussion of the origins and importance of eligibility studies, a description of the demographic characteristics and academic preparation indicators for the Class of 1996, the scope and methods used in the study, analyses of the eligibility of the 1996 public high school graduates for the California State University, and analyses of the eligibility of the 1996 public high school graduates for the University of California. The Commission is planning several additional efforts with respect to the implications of the study's results.

The 1996 public high school graduating class was the largest in almost 20 years and the most diverse set of students to complete public high school in California. Compared to the 1990 counterparts, these graduates were more likely to: (1) complete an university preparatory curriculum; (2) take Advanced Placement tests; and, (3) take college admission examinations.

The study results show that under more stringent admission requirements, the estimated eligibility rates of 1996 public high school graduates for freshman admission at both the California State University and the University of California were lower than these rates for the Class of 1990. Moreover, the rates were below the Master Plan guidelines for each system: 29.6 percent for the State University and 11.1 percent for the University of California. For the State University, eligibility rates declined for both men and women and for all four major racial-ethnic groups -- Asian, Black, Latino, and White graduates. While the eligibility rates of graduates for the State University in all 11 geographic regions decreased, the declines were largest in the major urban areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, and Orange County and smallest in the San Diego Imperial region, the Central Valley, and the San Bernardino/Riverside county region. For the University, eligibility rates declined for both men and women and for Asian and Black graduates. The eligibility of graduates for the University actually increased in several regions, including the Riverside/San Bernardino county region, the Central Valley, and the San Diego/Imperial region. The sharpest declines occurred in the South Coast region (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties) and Northern California. Investigation of the implication of these and other findings.

The Commission adopted this report at its meeting on December 15, 1997.


Related Topics: Eligibility for UC and CSU, Admission Policies
 

Further information may be obtained from the Commission's Research Staff
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at Research_Staff@cpec.ca.gov.

A copy of any publication may be requested from the Commission's Publications Unit
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at Publication_Request@cpec.ca.gov.

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