More students may be able to gain admission into Sam Houston State University after the Texas State University System Board of Regents authorized the university to change admission standards for incoming freshmen during the Fall 2013 semester.
The new standards were among items voted on by the regents during their quarterly meeting in May.
SHSU’s current admission standards allow automatic admission for high school students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. Under the new standards, automatic admission is given to high school students graduating in the top 25 percent of their class. ACT and SAT scores for admission were raised for the remaining 75 percent of high school graduates.
Director of Admissions Trevor Thorn sent a proposal to expand automatic admission to the SHSU Faculty Senate, which voted unanimously in support of the new standards during a meeting in April.
“The proposed changes will provide a higher rate of retention and graduation rates. A lot of the time, the success of institutions are measured by retention and graduation rates,” Julia May, Associate Director of Communications, said. “[The University] felt this was a good way to help our retention and graduation rates.”
According to the data released by the SHSU Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, an average of 72.9 percent of full-time degree-seeking beginning freshmen who enrolled in the Fall 2010 semester returned in the Fall 2011 semester. The data also indicated an average of 50 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen who entered in Fall 2005 graduated in 2011.
According to May, the new standards will help retention and graduation rates because incoming students will be better prepared for a college education.
“When [students] stay and complete their education, we’ve helped them achieve their academic goal,” she said. “When they drop out, it holds back their learning capabilities in the workforce and they are less skilled. As a state institution, we are tasked with educating our workforce.”
With the new standards, some members of the Faculty Senate voiced concern over the effect on enrollment. However, May remained positive about the effects of the new admission standards.
“I don’t think it’s going to reduce our enrollment, she said. “Students come to school to get a quality education. When they see we are taking their education seriously, they will want to come here.”
Admission standards vary with each of the eight universities in the Texas State University System. At Texas State University, automatic admission is granted to the top 10 percent of high school students and students graduating in the first quartile need an ACT score of 20 or an SAT I score of 920. Lamar University grants automatic admission to students in the top 10 percent. Students graduating between 11 and 25 percent of their class need an ACT score of 18 or an SAT I score of 850.
The Office of Admissions and the Office of Enrollment Management declined to comment for this story.
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