calif auditor

Audit says University of California system wrongly admitted 64 students from wealthy families in the last 6 years

Sept. 22, 2020
The admissions were granted as favors to donors, families and friends, the audit says.

A state audit has found that the University of California system wrongly admitted at least 64 wealthy students over the past six years as “favors to donors, family, and friends.”

The Associated Press reports that the California State Auditor also found that campus staff falsely designated 22 of the applicants as student-athlete recruits because of donations from or as favors to well-connected families.

One campus, the University of California, Berkeley, admitted 42 applicants through its regular admissions process based on connections to staff, leadership, and donors, but those applicants were not as qualified as others who were denied admission, the audit found.

The audit was conducted in response to the college admissions scandal last year that embroiled prestigious universities around the nation, athletic coaches and dozens of wealthy parents. Those investigations previously identified at least three students at UCLA and UC Berkeley who were improperly admitted.

[MORE: Read the auditor's report]

UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo was indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy for allegedly accepting $200,000 in bribes from the scheme’s mastermind, Rick Singer, in exchange for helping two students gain admission to the school as soccer players, though they didn’t play the sport competitively. Salcedo pleaded guilty to one count and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

The audit concluded that staff members were insufficiently trained and supervised in reviewing applications, “which led to inconsistent reviews, and affected applicants’ chances of admission.”

“The Office of the President has allowed weaknesses to persist for years and has not ensured the admissions policies and processes have been consistently and fairly applied from campus to campus,” the audit said.

The report also recommended that the president require campus officials to verify athletic talent and review donation records before admitting prospective student athletes.

[FROM AUGUST:  Actress Lori Loughlin, husband, sentenced to prison in college admissions scandal]

In the wake of the scandal, an internal investigation of all University of California campuses resulted in a list of recommendations aimed at better policing of fraud and conflicts of interest in student admissions. It called for stronger verification of claims on students’ applications, reviews of potential links between donors and applicants, and stricter scrutiny of students admitted for special talents, such as athletes and artists.

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