Southeastern to increase admission standards
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University is increasing its admission standards for the 2010 fall semester, a move that was approved Friday (Feb. 26) by its governing body, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
The major changes approved are increases in the minimum high school grade point average from the current 2.0 GPA to 2.5, or an ACT composite score from the current 20 to 21, or placement in the top 25 percent of the student’s high school class versus the 50 percent placement now required.
In addition, students cannot have a GPA below 2.0, require no more than one developmental course and must have completed the state Board of Regents Core Curriculum.
The new criteria will be posted on Southeastern’s Web site, www.selu.edu/admissions.
“This is a change we have been evaluating for some time,” said President John L. Crain. “It has always been planned as the next step designed to improve our graduation rate.”
He stated that the admission status of any students already accepted and who do not meet the new criteria would not be affected.
Last fall, the University of Louisiana System Board approved increasing admissions standards effective 2011, which is consistent with recent recommendations from the Louisiana Post-Secondary Review Commission (PERC). Southeastern’s new standards are slightly higher than those prescribed by the board and would be implemented a year earlier.
“With increased importance being placed on graduation rates, we are sharpening our focus on recruiting students who possess the academic preparation to succeed in a university environment,” Crain said. “We are moving aggressively, ahead of the recommended timelines to accelerate improvement in our graduation rate.”
Crain said the best indicator of a student’s success is his or her preparation in high school.
Southeastern moved from an open admissions institution to one with admission standards in 2000, ahead of requirements set out in the Louisiana Master Plan for higher education. The university gradually increased its standards until reaching its current criteria in 2005.
“We did see a slight decrease in enrollment each time new admission standards were introduced, and we expect to see some decrease this fall,” he said. “In time, however, we would expect enrollment to stabilize with the increased retention and progression of the better prepared students we are recruiting. “
Crain said new performance measures likely will have universities focus on the number of students who successfully progress and eventually graduate rather than the number enrolled.
The most often cited graduation rate is based on the percent of first time, full time freshmen who complete undergraduate degree requirements within six years at the university at which they first enroll. Before admission standards were introduced, Southeastern and similar regional universities in Louisiana had graduation rates of approximately 25 percent. Southeastern’s 2009 rate is about 32 percent and is expected to increase again when the 2010 results are available.
Crain explained that in addition to adding admission standards, Southeastern has introduced a number of initiatives designed to improve student success. These include additional student support services such as enhancements in academic advising and tutoring, a Web-based academic program mapping system that students begin using at freshman orientation, a redesign of freshman math courses that incorporate technology to provide students with instant feedback on their work and a mandatory freshman success course designed to help connect students with the university and guide them through their transitional first semester.
He said as the state moves increasingly toward performance-based funding for colleges and universities, it is vital that institutions like Southeastern continue to find ways to utilize limited resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.
“These are unprecedented times for higher education in Louisiana,” he added. “We are working to ensure the continued success of Southeastern in its unique role to serve the dynamic region of southeast Louisiana.”
Crain said that with the expansion of the state’s community college network, students who do not qualify for admission to Southeastern will have access to post-secondary educational opportunities with the option of transferring to Southeastern or other four-year institutions once basic course work is completed.
He added that, as the university has done every time admission standards were increased, Southeastern will work closely with high schools in the area to inform counselors and students about the changes and with area community colleges to ensure student access to post secondary education.
Crain also urged prospective students for fall to apply before July 15. Final deadline for applications for the fall semester is August 1.