Audit proposes new safeguards for UC following national college admissions scandal

Audit proposes new safeguards for UC following national college admissions scandal

Photo Credits: JUSTIN HAN / AGGIE

Two audits conducted to improve admissions processes

The UC’s Ethics, Compliance, and Audit Services (ECAS) recently released a summary of the UC’s new admissions procedures audit in response to the nationwide college admissions scandal that broke this spring. 

“Only a few cases of fraudulent activity related to admissions at UC campuses have been identified by federal investigators thus far,” the ECAS summary said. “We recognize that even one case is too many, and the university is doing everything it can to identify those who are culpable and prevent any additional wrongdoing.”

The bribery scandal implicated a coach at UCLA, a parent and student at UC Berkeley as well as other individuals at similarly prestigious universities. The UC Office of the President (UCOP) subsequently pledged to enact a thorough review of admissions policies and contacted both the ACT and the College Board to “ensure the integrity of students’ scores.”

The audit reflects a new impetus to improve the current UC admissions policies. 

“The UC admissions process is effective overall,” ECAS said in the document, “but [we] did identify a number of improvements and enhancements to refine our admissions procedures, all of which we are implementing.” 

ECAS has conducted two audits, one of which was completed in June 2019. The first audit calls for stronger documentation of the overall admissions process, particularly for students who are accepted on the basis of athletic ability or a special talent. These individuals constitute a small percentage of accepted students each year. 

The document proposes “improving mechanisms in place to monitor student-athletes’ participation in athletic programs.” The “reporting structure” in athletics compliance offices will be “modified,” and employees will be briefed on these new protocols. 

The audit also proposes “monitoring donations” to ensure that students are not being accepted “on the basis of financial gain to the university.” The UC system “does not grant preferential admission” to the children of donors or alumni, according to UCOP.

The audit additionally cites the need for other stronger “verification controls” which would potentially include identifying “falsified applicant information” more easily. They will also limit the influence that third parties could have on “special talent” applicants.

Campuses should be implementing the first audit’s recommended procedures by July 2019, according to ECAS. The second audit will be completed by the end of the year and “will include a deeper dive into selected areas, such as application verification controls, IT system access and student-athlete participation.” 

Students who fraudulently apply to the university “jeopardize” their admission, as it is in violation of the statement of integrity on the UC application, according to UCOP. Those admitted to the university under “false pretenses” could be dismissed if the allegations are substantiated. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), however, mandates the privacy of student educational records and prevents the university from offering specific information about ongoing investigations.

Written by: Rebecca Bihn-Wallace — campus@theaggie.org 


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