In the wake of the college admissions scandal, California lawmakers are proposing a sweep of changes they say will ensure the admission process is fair for all applicants.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) is proposing a bill that would require universities to have that at least three university officials, such as the chancellor, vice chancellor, provost, admissions director, to review applicants applying for a special admission into the university.

McCarty said, for example, if a water polo student was applying for a special admission, university officials would need to check if the student actually played water polo and knows how to swim.

During the FBI’s “Operation Varsity Blues,” investigators found coaches of top universities allegedly taking bribes to accept prospective athletic students who had not belonged to any sport-related activities or teams in order for the university to accept the student as a special admission.

Current or former officials from four universities in California were indicted in connection with the investigation, including Stanford in the Bay Area.

McCarty said:

“For every student admitted through bribery, there was an honest and talented student that was denied an opportunity to go to college.”

McCarty is also seeking college officials from the California State University and University of California to study the effectiveness and usefulness of applicants taking the SAT and ACT, and exploring phasing out the exams altogether:

“These standardized tests devalue the academic potential for low-income students.”

The FBI reported that some parents allegedly hired test takers for their children to produce higher SAT and ACT scores.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said he wants to make sure the admission process does not give preference to families who may have donated money to the university.

Ting’s proposed bill would not allow universities to take into consideration of an applicant’s relationship to donors or an alum from the university.

Ting said:

“You don’t get any preference based on what family you were born into or whether how big your parent’s income is. You get preference because of the hard work, your grades, your test scores, all your extracurricular activities because that is traditionally what we as applicants have control over.”

Another proposal by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose) would require companies that provide parents and students with college admission consultation to register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Firms making over $5,000 a year would need to register. A stakeholder group would then determine the regulations for the industry within a year the the state legislature approves the registry.

Rick Singer, a college admissions consultant, is alleged to be behind the college admissions scandal, advising many of the parents involved. His consulting firm known as “The Key,” was based in the California.

Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) is asking the state to conduct an audit on the University of California admissions process, especially focusing in on the admission process for athletes and other special admissions.

Additionally, lawmakers are proposing that anyone involved in the college admissions scandal that is found guilty cannot deduct related charitable donations from their income taxes.

Lawmakers said they expect committees to hear the proposals after the spring recess.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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