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Assemblyman Steven Choi’s Bipartisan AB 251 Addressing ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ College Admission Scandal Passes Senate to Governor
AB 251 (Choi) ensures campus staff involved in fundraising are prohibited from engaging in admission by exception process

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 24, 2021 – Today, the California State Senate unanimously passed Assembly Bill 251, authored by Assemblymember Steven Choi, Ph.D. (Vice Chair, Assembly Higher Education Committee), and Joint Authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty which addresses the ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ admission scandal by ensuring campus staff involved in fundraising are prohibited from engaging in the admission by exception process. AB 251 now goes to the Governor Newsom seeking his signature.

“Two years ago, our higher education institutions were shaken by the largest college admissions scandal in the history of the United States. The scandal, dubbed ‘Operation Varsity Blues,’ involved 7 years of investigation by the FBI and resulted in the arrest of 53 people on charges of racketeering, bribery, and wire fraud in order to secure admissions at elite universities for their children. Fortunately, the California Legislature stepped in and imposed safeguards to protect the integrity of our college admissions in California—and my bill, AB 251, builds upon these efforts by banning campus administrators involved in fundraising from being involved in the ‘admission by exception’ process,” remarked Assemblymember Choi.

Admission by exception is a process through which a campus looks beyond test scores and grades to admit applicants that do not meet eligibility requirements for the institution. Unfortunately, due to the subjective nature of the admission by exception process, it has potential to unfairly admit applicants due to their familial relationships or campus contributions. AB 251 safeguards against admission by exception abuse.

Assemblymember McCarty added, “I am proud to serve as a Joint Author of AB 251, which builds upon the work of my prior legislation from 2019, AB 1383, which required all applicants admitted by exception to be reviewed by at least three senior campus administrators. AB 251 expands on this law and helps safeguard the integrity of our college admissions process — for every student admitted through bribery, there is an honest and talented student rejected.”

Assemblyman Steven Choi serves the 68th District in the California Legislature, which includes Lake Forest, Irvine, Orange, North Tustin, Tustin, and Villa Park