University of California Provost C. Judson King has admitted that in the last five years, prominent individuals made over 1,000 special requests on behalf of undergraduate applicants’ admission. King maintains that about 60 of those applications received some positive consideration. King also acknowledged that although the UC system discourages letters of recommendation, letters that are sent do indeed get taken into account; in some cases, letters from VIPs make a crucial difference.
Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Times reported that UC President Richard Atkinson and the official he assigned to investigate such admissions favors have themselves handled requests from VIPs in recent years. In 19 of the most recent undergraduate cases documented in thank-you notes to Atkinson and computer print-outs, almost half of the students were admitted after inquiries by VIPs.