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UCSD Will End Admissions Guarantee For Transfers

Aired 5/2/12 on KPBS News.

UC San Diego is leaving the University of California program that guarantees admission to community college students who complete specific requirements

— Starting in the fall of 2014 community college students applying to transfer to UC San Diego will no longer be able to guarantee themselves a spot by taking specific courses and maintaining a minimum grade point average.

The program, known as TAG, was started to attract community college transfers in the 1980s, according to Penny Rue, vice chancellor for student affairs at the university. She said the program became so successful it was squeezing out other competitive applicants.

“We were only able to take non-guaranteed students with a GPA of 3.8 and that felt unfair. We were also at risk of being overwhelmed by the number of students with which we had a guarantee,” she said.

Even after raising the minimum GPA required of guaranteed-admissions applicants to 3.5, Rue said their applications still outnumbered the actual spaces available.

San Diego Community Colleges Chancellor Constance Carroll was troubled by the news that UCSD would leave the TAG program. She said it has been a model for many of education’s best practices – supportive counseling, challenging courses and clear expectations across multiple institutions.

“This has been a hallmark program for student success in our region," she said. "So to have it dismantled is a great disappointment and will have consequences for our students.”

Michael Cash, San Diego City College Associated Student Body president, shared her disappointment. He thinks the guarantee gave hope to students who often face substantial obstacles.

“If you know that you can work very hard and you can have a good job or you can get into a good school, you’re going to work harder, you’re going to put more into it, you’re going to be more passionate about it because you know what’s at the end of the line,” he said.

Rue said the guaranteed admissions program put students who didn’t know to enroll at the beginning of their community college studies at a disadvantage and that students of color make up a higher proportion of non-guarantee transfer applicants.

She also said the university is increasing its outreach efforts to the local community college districts and remains committed to bringing transfer students to campus.

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