Report 2015-107 Recommendation 1 Responses

Report 2015-107: The University of California: Its Admissions and Financial Decisions Have Disadvantaged California Resident Students (Release Date: March 2016)

Recommendation #1 To: University of California

To meet its commitment to California residents, the university should replace its "compare favorably" policy with a new admission standard for nonresident applicants that reflects the intent of the Master Plan. The admission standard should require campuses to admit only nonresidents with admissions credentials that place them in the upper half of the residents it admits.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

At the request of President Napolitano, UC's Academic Senate reviewed the University's "compare favorably" policy to ensure that it remains in harmony with the institution's comprehensive review admission policy and the Master Plan. The Senate, through its Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), reviewed the policy during the 2016-17 academic year. That report, endorsed by UC's Academic Council on July 26, 2017, can be found here: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/committees/boars/Compare-Favorably-Report-to-President-July-2017.pdf

BOARS' report summarizes the Committee's work over the past year to grapple with the complex issues associated with comparing residents and nonresidents, and to analyze several alternate measures for the compare favorably evaluation. Ultimately, BOARS concluded that the existing policy maintains the University's primary responsibility to California students, which is to ensure that campuses admit nonresidents who perform at least as well—if not better—than California residents. Although BOARS does not recommend changing the policy, the Committee will continue to monitor campus compliance, report outcomes on an annual basis, and suggest adjustments as data warrant.

  • Completion Date: July 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement

Per the Academic Senate's recommendation, the university will not change its nonresident admissions policy to one that more closely reflects the intent of the Master Plan. As we stated in our 2016 audit, the compare favorably nonresident admissions policy resulted in the university admitting nearly 16,000 nonresidents whose academic scores fell below the median for admitted residents at the same campus on every grade point average and admission test score we evaluated. By admitting nonresidents with lower academic qualifications on these key indicators than the median for residents it admitted, the university essentially deprived admittance to highly qualified residents. Thus, the compare favorably policy, which the university intends to keep in place, does not meet the intent of the Master Plan that stated nonresidents should demonstrate higher qualifications than the median for residents.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

1-Year Agency Response

In response to the CSA, the President requested that the Academic Senate review its "compare favorably" policy to ensure that it remains in harmony with University comprehensive review admission policies and the Master Plan. Since 2013, the Academic Senate annually has issued a public report regarding the degree to which campuses adhere to the compare favorably standard. These reports are posted on the Academic Senate's website. In light of the CSA's recommendation, however, the Senate's Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS) is collecting additional data to determine if there are other measures of academic performance that better illustrate UC's commitment to California residents. BOARS will report its findings before the end of the current academic year (June 2017).

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending

The status of this recommendation is pending the outcome of the academic senate's review. The Office of the President updated us on the status of this report and stated that it will be made public by mid-July 2017.


6-Month Agency Response

The University believes strongly that the "Compare Favorably" policy is fully compliant with both the letter and the spirit of the Master Plan. That this was the purpose and goal of the policy is well described in the documentation associated with its development. Nonetheless, the President has asked the Academic Senate to review current Senate policy with respect to nonresident admission, focusing on and clarifying (1) compliance with the Master Plan and (2) consistency with the University's overall freshman admission goals, the comprehensive review admission policy, and the holistic review process in place on most UC campuses. (A copy of the President's letter to the Academic Senate is attached.) It is anticipated that the Academic Senate will refer this request to the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), the committee to which undergraduate admission policy is delegated. It is expected that BOARS will take up this task at its first meeting of the 2016-17 academic year in October and that it will take several months to develop any resulting recommendations. If BOARS proposes a formal change in policy, it would typically need to be reviewed by the Academic Senate and its relevant committees at both the campus and systemwide levels, which would take 3-4 months. If BOARS recommends changes that require revisions to Regents' policy, this would conceivably add up to two months of time.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2017
  • Response Date: August 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The status of this recommendation is pending the outcome of the academic senate's review.


60-Day Agency Response

As described in our response to the audit report, the University believes strongly that the "Compare Favorably" policy is fully compliant with both the letter and the spirit of the Master Plan. That this was the purpose and goal of the policy is well described in the documentation associated with its development. Nonetheless, the President will ask the Academic Senate to review current Senate policy with respect to nonresident admission, focusing on and clarifying (1) compliance with the Master Plan and (2) consistency with the University's overall freshman admission goals, comprehensive review admission policy, and the holistic review process in place on most UC campuses. It is anticipated that the Academic Senate will refer this request to the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), the committee to which undergraduate admission policy is delegated. Because Academic Senate committees do not generally meet during the summer, it is expected that BOARS will take up this task in October 2016 and that it will take several months to develop any resulting recommendations. If BOARS proposes a formal change in policy, it would typically need to be reviewed by the Academic Senate and its relevant committees at both the campus and systemwide levels, which would take 3-4 months. If BOARS recommends changes that require revisions to Regent's policy, this would conceivably add up to two months of time.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2017
  • Response Date: May 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

In a letter to the academic senate dated June 29, 2016 the president of the university noted that she believed the compare favorably standard was fully compliant with both the letter and the spirit of the Master Plan. Nonetheless, in the letter the president formally requested that the academic senate review the compare favorably admissions policy. The president also stated that she was not asking the academic senate to change the compare favorably policy unless the academic senate's review determined that changes were warranted. The status of this recommendation is pending the outcome of the academic senate's review.


All Recommendations in 2015-107

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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