Ashley A. Smith
December 14, 2021
California has more eligible students for admission to the state’s public universities than those campuses have space for.
A new report released Wednesday by The Campaign for College Opportunity highlights that more eligible students are applying to the University of California and California State University campuses than those colleges can admit. The lack of capacity means that fewer qualified Latino and Black students are applying to these universities.
It also means that the state is still projecting a shortfall of workers with bachelor’s degrees and ranks 34th nationally in awarding four-year degrees.
“It has gotten exceedingly difficult to get into the University of California and a growing number of Cal State campuses,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the California-based campaign organization, which is focused on improving higher education opportunities for students. “Harder than in previous generations. It’s a real issue of fairness and equity at a time when we know a college degree is valuable and more high schools are preparing for college.”
It’s a problem the legislature and governor’s office also plan to tackle. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, said expanding access and affordability will be a priority next year. The UC system did make a commitment several weeks ago to enroll at least 20,000 more students by 2030, but McCarty said he and the legislature will plan to ask each of the universities including CSU for at least 30,000 more.
He also said the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which was never adopted into state law, needs to be updated to reflect the 21st-century economy that requires more bachelor’s degrees. “We need more college degrees to meet the jobs of today and tomorrow,” he said, during a webinar hosted by the Campaign Wednesday about the report. McCarty said the state’s master plan was written in the 1960s and what the economy requires today is very different. “We know you need more education to focus on what you need in this economy and the number of people attending high school in California is declining, but the number of people A-G ready is through the roof.”
A-G requirements are high school courses required for admission to the UC and CSU systems such as science, English, history, algebra and geometry.