Education July 31, 2017: UC Irvine rescinds admission offers to 500 freshmen because of over enrollment

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

 

The University of California, Irvine revoked nearly 500 offers of admissions because of over enrollment, leaving students with very few options just two months before the start of the fall semester. Wikipedia Commons

Nearly 500 incoming freshmen accepted to the University of California Irvine are facing the worst nightmare of their academic careers less than two months before the start of the fall semester. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report on Friday, July 28, 2017, that the UC campus rescinded the admission of 499 incoming students. The university sent the letters last week and the admissions office gave minor or no real reason for the revocation of the admission offers. The university, however, had more students accepting offers of admissions this year than expected. Most including students and the news media believe over enrollment is the only reason UC Irvine is causing a nightmare for these students.

The majority of students were given reasons such as not filing their final transcripts by the due date or bad senior grades. The LA Times notes, “290 of them for transcript issues and the rest for poor senior-year grades, according to campus data.” Students, however, said according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the reasons were “insufficient or nonexistent.” One student claimed the admission office just said they had “violated a freshman admission requirement,” without elaborating or clarifying. Many of the students who were accused of not sending their transcripts in time even if they had have proof they did. The students now have two choices appeal or change their plans for the fall with community college being almost the only option at this point in the summer.

The university claims they can invoke offers of admissions for the following reasons, “not graduating with their high school diploma,” not maintaining in their senior year a “weighted 3.0 senior-year grade-point average, having “Ds or Fs in UC-approved courses” and not “meeting deadlines for submitting all official high school and college transcripts and test scores.” The number of rescission notices at other University of California campus was minute in comparison UCLA revoked seven admissions, UC San Diego revoked nine, and in the previous two years, UC Davis revoked an average of 150 admission offers where most were because of senior final grades.

Thomas Parham, the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs issued a statement on Friday. Parham explained, “Acceptance into all University of California campuses is provisional, contingent on meeting the contractual terms and conditions that were clearly outlined in your original admissions offer.”

UC Irvine accepted 850 more students than they originally planned for the Class of 2021. In total, According to the LA Times, “7,100 of the 31,103 freshmen who were offered admission to UC-Irvine had accepted it by May.” The university originally hoped their incoming freshman class would consist of approximately 6,250 students. Tom Vasich, “a spokesman for the university,” told the New York Times on Friday, “This is not a typical year. More students than we expected accepted admission to the university.”

A petition was created to object to the revoked admissions notices. According to the LA Times by Thursday, “640 students, relatives, alumni and community members” signed. The petition read, “We are so sorry that UCI admin has decided to ruin students lives…. They NEED to be held accountable for their actions, and they need to know that we will not just sit back and allow them to take advantage of students.”

The cruel predicament UC Irvine put students admitted to their school was rather unprecedented. There have been many well-publicized horror stories of universities sending offers of admissions by mistake, but not rescinding genuine acceptances on mass. In recent years, each cycle there are stories of universities making computer error, accessing the wrong lists and sending out offers of admissions to thousands of students, before retracting and claiming they were all by accident. The New York Times lists recent mistaken admissions controversies at “Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2017, at Tulane University in 2016, and at Carnegie Mellon University in 2015.” In 2009, the UC San Diego sent 28,000 acceptances by error, the campus sent admission offers to all 46,000 applicants instead of just the 18,000 students they admitted.

All of these mistaken acceptances either happened in the early admission cycle or regular cycle, but before students accepted offers of admissions on May 1. Students still had the opportunity to apply or accept other university admission offers. This year, Harvard University caused an uproar after the university revoked admissions for 10 freshmen for inappropriate behavior in mid-April. According to CNN, the ten students posted “explicit memes via a Facebook chat group,” which was “an offshoot of the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group affiliated with the university.”

According to the student paper the Harvard Crimson, the group “mocked sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children.” Harvard Admissions Office let the students know, “As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.” The situation at UC Irvine was radically different since none of the admitted students had done anything, which would cause revoking admission.

The UC Irvine students are most left without options so late in the season; if they want to continue their education, they will have to consider community college and then transferring to a university, or try again this upcoming admission cycle. Even more tragic is the many of the students that UC Irvine rescinded admission fall under the category of minorities, from low-income families, or first of their families to attend college, one student was even a former marine. So far 64 of the 265 that filed appealed have been successful in getting their admissions reinstated.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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