SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Five California lawmakers announced on Thursday a package proposal of sweeping college admissions reforms in the wake of the bribery scandal.
“We want to make sure that hard work is rewarded, you shouldn’t just get rewarded because of what family you’re born into, you should get rewarded for how hard you study,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).
The package of proposals includes phasing out the SAT and ACT, banning preferential admissions to applicants related to donors or alumni and a checks-and-balances for special admissions.
For example, athletes would have to get approval from a minimum of three administrative members, like the president, vice-president and the faculty member recommending the student.
Earlier this month, 50 people were implicated in a college admissions bribery scandal that involved coaches, administrators and a rogue college consultant. Wealthy parents, including celebrities, were accused of paying bribes to secure their children spots at several universities.
“We had wealthy families literally buying their way universities, some of the most elite and hard to get into universities across the country,” Ting said. “Shocked all of us.”
The scandal frustrated Gisselle Pinto and other college students who worked hard and applied for college on their own without the help of their parents. A year and a half ago, Pinto was rejected from UCLA.
“It was just like hoping to get into the best school that you possibly can,” she said. “I felt bad that I didn’t work even harder even though only two kids from my class got accepted.”
The proposals by the lawmakers also include regulating college admissions consultants and auditing risks of fraud in the University of California’s admissions processes.
“It is unfair that there is an opportunity for individuals who might have resources to game the system, and that’s not right,” said Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) who is also pushing for the proposals.
The lawmakers hope the bills are heard in committee next month.
“The first thing we want to do is really restore faith in the college admission system,” Ting said. “Secondly, we want to try to even the playing field.”
Pinto was rejected by UCLA but she was accepted into San Jose State University. She’s now a freshman in college and one step closer to fulfilling her dream of becoming a business owner.
“I want to be able to make my own money,” Pinto said.