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UC Irvine Rescinds Hundreds Of Freshman Admission Offers Two Months Before Classes Start

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UCI (Photo courtesy of UCI)
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The University of California, Irvine, has rescinded its acceptance offer to some 500 incoming freshmen ahead of the 2017-2018 academic year. According to the Los Angeles Times, the university sent acceptance letters to 31,103 students for the class of 2021—about 7,100 of them accepted the offer, which is about 850 more than the typical class size of 6,250.

“I felt I was going to pass out. I couldn’t stop crying,” Ashley Gonzalez told the Times. Gonzalez had graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles and was accepted to UCI, but the offer was rescinded after she'd failed to submit senior year transcripts to the university before a July 1 deadline. “I thought my future was over. I worked so hard. I felt it wasn’t fair.”

"We had about 104,000 applications this year," Tom Vasich, Interim Director of Media Relations at UCI, told LAist. "That's one of the third or fourth highest in the United States. It's overwhelming." He continued that, from the admission pool, some 30,000 students are typically offered admission, and the yield of offers accepted is about 20%. "That's standard in any university. But, this year, we had more admissions accepted than we expected."

So, how does a university deal with an over-acceptance rate? First, let's clarify some terms. The beginning of UCI's academic year is September 25. "So, we're not even at admissions, yet. These are still provisional acceptances," Vasich notes. As such, the provisional acceptances are held to certain terms and conditions—like maintaining grades over senior year, and submitting transcripts by certain deadlines.

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To deal with the high rate of acceptances, "we took a harder line on deadline issues," Vasich said. Of the 499 rescinded provisional acceptances, Vasich says that 290 were withdrawn because of missing transcripts, and 209 were because of grade issues. "Now, we don't want any student to have their admissions withdrawn by any fault of their own. That's why we have an appeals process," said Vasich. Of the 499 rescinded offers, 185 have been appealed, and 63 have, so far, been reinstated. "We alerted students two weeks before they had to meet their deadline, but again, we are not going to deny a student if they live up to their admissions just because of numbers," Vasich continued.

But as UCI moves closer to the beginning of the academic year, and fully processes its incoming class, the optics remain frustrating for some.

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In recent years, Janet Napolitano, president of the UC system, has pushed to increase in-state student enrollment.

“We’ve intensified our efforts to boost enrollment of Californians at the University and all indications are that these efforts are working,” Napolitano said ahead of the 2016 academic year, which saw a 15% rise in California resident enrollment, according to a UC press release. “Our commitment to California and California students has never wavered, even through the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression. Now, with additional state funding, we are able to bring in even more California students.”

According to KPCC, ahead of this upcoming academic year, 70,000 California residents were sent acceptance letters by UC schools. But this increase comes with its own set of challenges, said Audrey Dow, a vice president with the UC system. She said, “[w]e clearly have to get [in-state enrollment] numbers significantly up and that comes with really thinking about increased capacity and the funding to serve the growing demand for a spot in college.”