California's public colleges and universities are in a very public budget pickle. But thousands of the students asked to pay more for tuition are attending school despite not meeting minimum academic and other enrollment standards, according to Bay Area News Group.
These students -- some are athletes, some are musicians, and some come from overseas where high schools don't adhere to the American system -- are "admitted by exception," the newspaper reported. The University of California's 10-campus system boosted the admission of such students by 60 percent in the current freshman class, according to the newspaper, with 780 students statewide admitted by exception.
California State University's 23-campus network, however, is admitting fewer and fewer students who don't make the grade: CSU had 2,276 excepted students enrolled in the 2010 incoming freshman class, down from 5,300 two years before, the newspaper said.
Campus admissions offices do have leeway when weighing to admit an out-of-state or foreign student who does not meet the enrollment requirements over a California resident who does. Admissions officers say that they only admit students who have a chance at earning a degree -- and some UC campuses shy away from the practice almost entirely. UC San Diego, for example, admits only three excepted freshmen in each of the past two years.
"We had so many students who meet minimum eligibility that it just wasn't fair to admit exceptions," Mae Brown, UCSD's admissions director, told the newspaper. "We turn away thousands and thousands of qualified California residents, so we're very careful."