In May 2020, the University of California System decided that students applying to any of the nine undergraduate campuses would not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores in order to be eligible for admission. Since 1996, state universities in California have been prohibited by law from considering race as a factor in admissions decisions. Because Black students have historically had lower average scores on the SAT than any other major racial or ethnic group in the United States, Black applicants have faced a tall hurdle in gaining admission to the University of California. This past fall, African Americans made up just 3.8 percent of entering first-year students at the flagship Berkeley campus.
This year – when standardized test scores were not required – 4,608 Black students from California were admitted to an undergraduate campus of the University of California. This was up from 3,987 Black students a year ago. Blacks are 5 percent of all admitted students year.
At the University of California, Irvine, the number of Black students increased from 560 in 2020 to 903 this year. At the University of California, San Diego, Black admits jumped from 765 to 870.