Chancellor's message on undergraduate admissions

Date: 
04 Sep 2015
Description: 

September 4, 2015

To: Chancellor’s Cabinet, Senate Executive Committee, and Deans
From: Chancellor George Blumenthal
Re: Undergraduate Admissions 

At UC Santa Cruz, our mission is to provide opportunity to students, not deny it. This summer, however, nearly 800 admitted first-year students saw their admission rescinded—an outcome that generated profound disappointment for many who aspired to join us this fall. 

While some students are cancelled for academic shortfalls in their final year of high school, 530 were cancelled this summer based on a missed deadline, and 370 of those students appealed our decision. Of those who appealed, 251 students were reinstated for Fall 2015 because their failure to meet our deadline was through no fault of their own and because they maintained the level of academic achievement expected. Notably, there was a similar distribution of impacted students across various demographics such as first generation status, ethnicity and income levels. For example, of all students who met all requirements, 43.1% were first generation and of all students who missed a deadline, 33.8% were first generation. Today, I am writing about the remaining students, whose appeals were denied.

Despite the fact that the campus was very clear about our deadlines and sent several reminder messages, many people felt that the punishment—cancellation of admission—did not fit the crime. In light of the very real possibility that some students were misinformed by others, confused about our requirements, or missed the deadline by only a few days, the campus has reconsidered the cancellation for students whose appeals were unsuccessful. Today, we are sending offers of admission for Winter Quarter 2016 or Fall Quarter 2016 to 111 of those students who maintained the level of academic achievement expected and submitted the required records. 

In short, nearly all of the 370 students who appealed based on a missed deadline have received, or will receive today, an opportunity to be a UC Santa Cruz student. 

I believe it's the right thing to do to offer enrollment to students who made every reasonable effort to follow the rules but may have received conflicting information from a variety of sources about what was required and when. At the same time, our campus communications have been clear and consistent, and it is reasonable to expect incoming college students to comply with those rules. This is and should be a teachable moment for both the campus and those who aspire to enroll here. 

This has been a trying time for our aspiring students as well as colleagues in Undergraduate Admissions, and other areas of the campus. As always, our undergraduate admissions policies are the product of agreements reached jointly by the Division of Undergraduate Education and the Senate Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid; each year, our policies and procedures are established before any students are admitted. Our job isn't done until both the campus and our aspiring students are well-served by that effort.

Looking ahead, it's paramount that we protect our future applicants and their families from the heartache and disappointment experienced by so many this summer. I assure you those discussions are well underway.