CSU proposal to change admission requirements

A California State University (CSU) proposal will require incoming high school students to complete an additional quantitative reasoning (QR) course to meet the minimum qualifications for CSU admission. Currently, high school students are only required to take three years of quantitative reasoning courses to qualify to apply to a CSU school. 

The existing CSU college preparatory course requirement for first-year admission comprises a total of 15 required courses that include history, social science, English, mathematics, laboratory science, foreign language, visual/performing arts and a college preparatory elective. 

A special public comment open forum on the QR proposal was held in the Dumke Auditorium of the CSU Office of the Chancellor on Aug. 29 and the formal proposal was brought before the Board of Trustees in the September meeting. 

Alison Baski, dean of the College of Science at Cal Poly Pomona, found it disconcerting that the proposal was not clearly communicated at the forum.  

“At the forum a lot of people thought it meant a fourth year of math but it doesn’t mean a fourth year of math. It is not at all requiring that you have to take a fourth year of math,” Baski said. “I think this prepares students better particularly if they are going into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) type degrees, but it doesn’t have to be STEM. I think being generally prepared having four years versus just three years of a QR-type course is very important.” 

The proposed course requirement would take effect in 2026 and would require students to take an extra QR course that could include statistics, personal finance, accounting, computer science, coding, forensics, veterinary science and more. 

Genessis Salcedo, a senior at Serrano High School in Phelan, California, agrees with future requirements of a fourth-year QR course requirement. 

“It sets the base for knowledge for students by increasing the level of work and determination to be admitted into a CSU,” said Salcedo. “It shows that students are motivated to go to school and it puts the CSU on a similar level to the UC counterparts as far as requirements and effort required.” 

According to CSU student data, there was a 20% higher successful completion rate from students who took an additional QR course. As of right now there is an 85% rate of students who already fulfill the additional course requirement, leaving 15% of students who can benefit from taking the extra course. The data also shows that students have a higher chance of succeeding with the fourth year QR preparation course.

Concerning factors that have led to the opposition of the proposal include: teacher shortage, course access and a significant impact in public schools, especially those with African American, Latino or low-income students. 

The California Teachers Association, the California School Boards Association and the Education Trust-West have all agreed to vote no for the CSU proposition to require an additional year of quantitative reasoning.

As well, there are currently over 60 California organizations opposed to the proposition including the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Black Students of California United, Students for Ed Reform, Cal Poly Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and more, according to the Education Trust-West list of advocates in opposition.

Carlos Sandoval, a fourth-year industrial engineering student, also disagrees with the proposition. 

“It’s unfair to add a required class in order to apply to a CSU,” Sandoval said. “Senior year was the year in which I learned a lot more about different colleges and universities. This influenced my decision a lot when choosing which schools to ultimately apply to …. If this requirement is added there might be students who end up wanting to attend a CSU but cannot apply because they did not take the required class.”

However, Baski believes that with a reasonable timeline and appropriate resources, the proposal could be successful.

“To my mind it is very nuanced; if we don’t say there are these expectations when you get to college and then prepare students for that, then I think we are doing a disservice to them,” Baski said. 

A decision for the proposal will take place in November. 

The Poly Post reached out to the admissions department to comment and received no response. 

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