Governor Signs College Admissions Reform Package in Response to College Admissions Scandal

Friday, October 4, 2019

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Following the news this week of the second parent sentenced in the college admissions scandal, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Assembly’s College Admissions Reform package. Earlier this year, we learned of “Operation Varsity Blues,” where universities, coaches, and wealthy parents across the country and across California were taking advantage of the current college admissions process. This scandal that included bribery, cheating, and corruption compelled the California legislature to offer a college admissions reform package to address these issues in the current system. In response, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) introduced and passed AB 1383 to strengthen checks and balances on special admissions, which was signed into law by the Governor on October 4, 2019.

AB 1383 prohibits California State University, and if adopted, the University of California from admitting students by special exception unless approved by a minimum of three senior campus administrators.

“As Operation Varsity Blues comes to an end and the justice system begins finalizing the criminal process, California is stepping up its efforts to strengthen the college admissions process,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). “AB 1383, which is now law in California, will ensure that the bribery and corruption we saw in the college admissions scandal won’t happen again in our state. As our College Admissions Reform package, these new laws and measures will promote a level playing field for our students.”

Other elements of the Assembly Democrats College Admissions Reform Package proposals signed into law/approved by lawmakers included:

  • ACR 64 (Asm. McCarty) puts the California legislature on record to request UC and require CSU to study the usefulness and effectiveness of the SAT & ACT as the standardized testing criteria for admissions.
  • AB 697 (Asm. Ting) requires colleges to disclose whether they give preferential admissions treatment to applicants related to donors or alumni.
  • AB 136 (Asm. Quirk-Silva) prohibits fraudulent tax write-offs for individuals charged in the scandal.
  • Asm. Boerner Horvath requested audit of the University of California’s special admissions process; Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved request by Assembly.

AB 1383 will take effect in the State of California on January 1, 2020.

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Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District, which include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.