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In California, only 45 percent of last year’s high school graduates were eligible for public universities

Sarah Favot | July 24, 2017

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Across California last year, only 45 percent of high school graduates were eligible to attend the state’s public universities.

Data from the California Department of Education show that since 2010-11, the percentage of students eligible for admittance into University of California and Cal State University schools has climbed by only 1 or 2 percentage points each year, except in 2013-14 when it rose 3 percentage points.

In comparison, the state data show that LA Unified students qualifying for public universities rose 20 percentage points over that period.

To be eligible for California’s public universities, students must pass a series of required classes, called A-G courses, with a grade of a C or better. In 2016, the state reported that 55 percent of LA Unified grads met that benchmark.

But LA Unified’s own data showed fewer did so.

The difference depends on whose data you’re looking at.

LA School Report revealed this spring that less than half of LA Unified’s graduating class of 2016 were eligible to enroll in California’s public universities — 47 percent earned at least a C or better in the required college prep courses, according to the district.

But a few days later the California Department of Education released data on the graduating class of 2016 showing that 55 percent of LA Unified grads met entrance requirements for the University of California and Cal State University schools, compared to 45 percent statewide.

The figures are different because the district tracked the students who entered high school in 2012 and graduated in 2016, while the state’s data include anybody who graduated in 2016, whether or not they were part of the four-year cohort, according to an LA Unified spokeswoman.

• Read more: 1 in 4 LAUSD graduates head to four-year college, data show

The data for LA Unified’s Class of 2016 are significant because 10 years ago the school board decided that high school seniors in 2016 would need to receive a C or better in all of their A-G courses in order to graduate. But two years ago, fearing thousands of students wouldn’t graduate, the school board decided to roll back those requirements, allowing students with D’s to graduate. The data show those fears were founded as 53 percent of LA Unified’s 2016 graduates received a least one D in their A-G coursework.

• Read more: Exclusive: New district data on student grades show more than half of LAUSD’s 2016 graduates were not eligible for California public universities

Here’s a look inside how many LA Unified graduates have met UC and CSU entrance requirements compared to the average for school districts across California, according to the state Department of Education:


(Source: California Department of Education)

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