UC easing admissions, course requirements amid coronavirus crisis

The University of California Board of Regents announced Wednesday that it will ease admissions and course completion requirements for incoming and current students as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The board voted Tuesday night to suspend letter grade requirements in the winter, spring and summer semesters for all students, including the system's recently admitted freshmen. The board also waived the standardized test requirement for students applying as freshmen for the fall 2021 semester and ruled that students will not have their admission rescinded for missing a final official transcript deadline.

For transfer students, the board temporarily waived the cap on the number of "pass/no pass" grade credits that can be applied toward the minimum 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits that UC schools require for junior standing.

"We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19," UC Board of Regents Chair John Prez said. "By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors -- including suspending the use of the SAT -- for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students."

The temporary changes will benefit high school students who may have had their high school close and issue pass/fail grades in lieu of standard letter grades as a result of the pandemic.

Future UC applicants who are affected by such extenuating circumstances will receive similar eased admission requirements, according to UC officials.

The College Board, which oversees the administration of testing for Advanced Placement classes, has also announced that students who received a score of three, four or five on a previous AP test will receive UC credit for their AP classes taken during the spring 2020 semester.

"The COVID-19 outbreak is a disaster of historic proportions disrupting every aspect of our lives, including education for high school students, among others," UC President Janet Napolitano said. "The university's flexibility at this crucial time will ensure prospective students aiming for UC get a full and fair shot -- no matter their current challenges."