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University of California Drops SAT, ACT Requirement

FILE - A sign is seen at the entrance to a hall for a college test preparation class in Bethesda, Md., Jan. 17, 2016.
FILE - A sign is seen at the entrance to a hall for a college test preparation class in Bethesda, Md., Jan. 17, 2016.

The University of California will drop the SAT and ACT tests as admission requirements through 2024 and eliminate them for California residents after that, a landmark decision by the prestigious university system.

The UC's governing body, the Board of Regents, voted 23-0 Thursday to approve a proposal by UC President Janet Napolitano that phases out the tests over five years, at which point the UC aims to have developed its own test.

The regents met in a teleconference that lasted several hours Thursday, with expert presentations and lengthy debates that echoed a national conversation about whether the tests discriminate against disadvantaged students or help admissions offices find the most qualified applicants.

"I think this is an incredible step in the right direction," Regents Chairman John Perez said.

Critics of the tests have long argued they put minority and low-income students at a disadvantage because the test questions often contain inherent bias that more privileged children are better equipped to answer. Wealthier students also tend to take expensive prep courses that help boost their scores, which many students can't afford, critics say.

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With California high school campuses closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the UC had already made the tests optional for students who want to attend the fall 2021 sessions.

Under the plan approved Thursday, SAT and ACT tests will be optional for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years for all applicants.

Starting in 2023 and continuing the following year, the admissions process will be "test blind" for California residents, meaning SAT and ACT scores won't be used in admissions decisions but could still be considered for purposes such as course placement and scholarships. Napolitano asked the school's academic senate to work with the administration on a plan for out-of-state and international students applying as of fall 2023.

In 2025, the 290,000-student UC system will either replace the SAT and ACT with its own admissions test, or if it's unable to create its own exam, eliminate its standardized testing requirement altogether.

Napolitano's office said in a statement that assessing nonresident students "presents challenges in terms of fairness and practicality," but the options include extending the new tests for California students to out-of-state applicants or using some other standardized tests.

The decision by the massive UC system could be influential as other colleges nationwide eye similar decisions. UC officials said they would begin working on the new test this summer.

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Students learn protests can affect job prospects

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.
FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.

Some students in the U.S. are learning their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war are having an impact on job prospects.

Financial Times reports that protest activities are turning up in background checks, and employers have revoked employment offers to students as a result. (June 2024)

UCLA names new chancellor as campus is still reeling from protests over Israel-Hamas war

Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.
Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.

The president of the University of Miami was chosen Wednesday to become the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, where the retiring incumbent leaves a campus roiled by protests over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Dr. Julio Frenk, a Mexico City-born global public health researcher, was selected by regents of the University of California system at a meeting on the UCLA campus, where there were a swarm of security officers.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been chancellor for 17 years and announced his planned retirement long before UCLA became a national flashpoint for U.S. campus protests. This spring, pro-Palestinian encampments were built and cleared by police with many arrests, and again this week, there were more arrests.

Frenk has led the 17,000-student University of Miami since 2015 and previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico's national health secretary, among other positions.

In a brief press conference, Frenk said he was approaching the appointment with excitement and humility.

"The first thing I plan to do is listen very carefully," Frenk said. "This is a complex organization. It is, as I mentioned, a really consequential moment in the history of higher education."

Frenk did not comment on specific protests at UCLA this spring or the current administration's response, which initially tolerated an encampment but ultimately used police to clear it and keep new camps from forming.

During public comment in the regents meeting, speakers criticized UC administrators, alleged police brutality, complained of a lack of transparency in UC endowments and called for divestment from companies with ties to Israel or in weapons manufacturing.

Speakers also talked about experiencing antisemitism on campus and called for an increased law enforcement response to protesters.

Later, about 200 people rallied, including members of an academic student workers union and the Faculty for Justice for Palestine group as well as students from other UC campuses. Participants held signs calling for charges to be dropped against protesters who have been arrested.

Block departs UCLA on July 31. Darnell Hunt, executive vice president and provost, will serve as interim chancellor until Frenk becomes UCLA's seventh chancellor on January 1, 2025.

In previous roles, Frenk was founding director of Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, held positions at the World Health Organization and the nonprofit Mexican Health Foundation, and was a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's global health program.

Frenk received his medical degree from the National University of Mexico in 1979. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he earned master's degrees in public health and sociology, and a joint doctorate in medical care organization and sociology.

Experts: US will have nearly 2 million international students by 2034

FILE - People line up outside McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.
FILE - People line up outside McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.

Experts predict the U.S. will enroll nearly 1.8 million international students by 2034, ICEF Monitor reports.

Most of the students will hail from India, along with China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Nepal, Brazil and Mexico, the analysis says.

Read the story here. (May 2024)

UCLA gets its first international student undergraduate council president

FILE - The UCLA campus on April 25, 2019.
FILE - The UCLA campus on April 25, 2019.

An international student will lead the Undergraduate Students Association Council at UCLA for the first time.

Adam Tfayli, who is from Lebanon, won the presidential race, beating out five other candidates.

Student newspaper the Daily Bruin has the story here. (May 2024)

Examining the facts behind US international student boom

FILE - Students listen during commencement in Harvard Yard, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., May 23, 2024.
FILE - Students listen during commencement in Harvard Yard, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., May 23, 2024.

The U.S. international student population is booming.

The Chicago Tribune takes a look at the trend and what it means for colleges. Read the story here. (May 2024)

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