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The California State University (CSU) is considering requiring applicants to take an additional course in quantitative reasoning in high school, but critics say it would disproportionately affect underrepresented student populations.

Currently, the CSU only requires incoming students to have a minimum of three years of math. The proposed requirement would mean high school students, beginning with the first-time freshman class of 2026, would need to complete an additional quantitative reasoning course to meet minimum qualifications for CSU admission, according to the quantitative reasoning proposal. Students who complete three years of science would also satisfy the CSU quantitative reasoning requirement, according to the proposal.

“During the development of this proposal, the CSU has maintained a commitment to avoid placing an undue hardship on students who are unable to fulfill the new requirement because of limited course offerings in their high school,” the proposal read.

However, the California State Student Association (CSSA), comprised of delegates from all 23 CSU campuses, unanimously passed a letter in opposition to the proposal Oct. 20, according to Associated Students Inc. President Mark Borges. As an advisory group, CSSA’s letter of opposition does not automatically veto the measure. 

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Borges said one of the main concerns was that the workload to meet the new requirement would fall on the California State School System. 

“There was no plan as to how we would help school districts along the process of ensuring they can meet this requirement,” Borges said. 

According to Borges, if low-income school districts — which often serve underrepresented individuals — were not able to meet the new requirements, it would create barriers to student’s success. The requirement would also shift focus away from liberal arts courses.

“If we need an additional faculty member in the STEM fields, that’s going to pull funding away from, say, theater or art or some of those areas where the priorities [are] no longer there because that’s not an admissions requirement,” Borges said.

Although Borges is in opposition to the proposed requirement, the proposal would not affect Cal Poly students as much because it’s admissions process is already very selective.

“It wouldn’t impact [Cal Poly’s] admissions too much because we already recommend a fourth year of solely math not just looking at quantitative reasoning,” Borges said. 

If the quantitative reasoning proposal is passed, the CSSA advisory group is prepared to be involved in the implementation process, Borges said.

The vote on the Quantitative Reasoning proposal has been delayed from November 19-20 to the next CSU Board of Trustee meeting January 28-29.

State Superintendent of Public Education, Tony Thurmond, thanked CSU Chancellor, Timothy White, and the CSU for listening to advocacy groups and public officials and delaying the vote, according to a news release.

This post has been updated to reflect the delayed vote on the CSU Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

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