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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is CSU considering changing admissions requirement?

Research shows that students who have completed additional quantitative reasoning preparation in high school experience improved outcomes in college.

Additional preparation in quantitative reasoning expands opportunities for all students - especially underrepresented minority students (URM) - to pursue degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. Participation by underrepresented minority students in these fields is sorely lacking.

An extra year of preparation in quantitative reasoning is a gateway to studies in these areas.

Will this proposed change affect the UC admission requirements?

The CSU currently follows the “a-g” high school course requirements determined by the University of California, and the proposed change will create a difference between CSU admission requirements and UC requirements. Applicants for the fall 2026 term would be required to complete 16 yearlong “a-g” college preparatory courses while the UC would require the traditional 15 yearlong “a-g” college preparatory courses.

The CSU would partner with the UC to implement this proposal by investing in enhancements to the UC's Course Management Portal (UC CMP) and processes to evaluate and categorize “a-g” courses developed by high schools across California. These efforts would support the further expansion of quantitative reasoning course offerings across the state and provide greater visibility and clarity to students, families and schools regarding courses which satisfy the new CSU requirement.

The UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools has developed a proposal to require three years of college preparatory area “d-laboratory science” courses for admission to a UC campus. While this proposal is under review and has not been formally submitted to the UC’s Board of Regents for consideration, it is important to note that, as currently developed, the requirement would align with the CSU’s quantitative reasoning proposal. High school students completing three years of area “d-laboratory science” would simultaneously satisfy the CSU’s proposed quantitative reasoning requirement.

Are there examples where a similar requirement has improved student achievement?

Yes, similar changes have already taken place in a California school district and are being considered in others. If we look at the 20 largest school districts in California, more than one-third have high school graduation requirements that align – or will align – with the CSU quantitative reasoning proposal. This includes 4 of the 5 largest districts in the state.

The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) – where 70 percent of students are in poverty and 86 percent at non-white – increased the quantitative reasoning requirement six years ago to improve college readiness. Prior to changing the requirement, just 39 percent of students met the “a-g” requirements for admission to the CSU. Today, 56 percent of students meet the “a-g” requirements, and the district’s African American and Latino students graduate at higher percentages compared to their peers in the county and across the state. Despite early opposition to the change and concern that underserved students would be disadvantaged, the outcomes have demonstrated the opposite. Students of color in LBUSD are graduating and attending college at higher rates due to better quantitative reasoning preparation.

In 2011, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education adopted new, more rigorous graduation requirements that align with the district’s mission. The district is the second largest in California with more than 124,000 students, of which 23 percent are English Language Learners, 59 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch and 77 percent are non-white. The new requirements include specific high school courses that are aligned to the minimum subject-area course requirements for CSU and University of California (UC) admission and are aligned to the California Next Generation Science Standards. Students fulfilling the high school graduation requirements in the San Diego Unified School District will have satisfied the CSU’s proposed quantitative reasoning requirement without any additional coursework.

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