State adjusts college admissions standards



September 20, 2019 - 4:06 PM

In-state college admissions will change for Kansas high school students like this chemistry class at Topeka West High School. CHRIS NEAL / FOR THE KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

The Kansas Board of Regents voted Wednesday to change the benchmarks for in-state students to attend the state’s six public universities, and class-rank requirements are out.

The move is meant to increase the number of Kansas high-schoolers who are eligible to attend Kansas State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, Fort Hays State University, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas.

It’s also expected to help more first-generation college students attend Kansas universities and simplify the required list of academic prerequisites. But critics say they’re concerned changing standards could reduce high schoolers’ readiness for college.

Currently, Kansas high school students who want to attend a public university must take a specific number of classes in English, math, science, social sciences and electives. To attend any university except KU, they must have at least a 2.0 GPA in those classes; KU requires applicants to have a GPA of 3.25 in all classes and an ACT score above 21, or a GPA of 3.0 and an ACT score above 24.

“This has resulted in a pretty complicated process that creates confusion among the applicants and the counselors and the parents,” said Daniel Archer, vice president of academic affairs for the Board of Regents, at the meeting in Topeka.

Archer said it was hard for universities to keep track of which high school classes met which admissions requirements. “It’s a pretty onerous process to review individual courses,” he said, “because it’s not something you can automate.”

Under the new admissions criteria, the classes will be recommended, but not required.

Plus, students will be admitted if they meet the same ACT minimum or if they meet a new overall GPA requirement. Emporia State, Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State and Wichita State will require either an ACT score of 21 to get in or a GPA of 2.25. K-State will require either an ACT score of 21 or a GPA of 3.25.

Class rankings, which are currently taken into account, will go away. That’s because, Archer said, it’s easier to compare GPA across different high schools, while class rank is a less useful marker of academic ability.

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