Board of Regents plans audit of Louisiana college admissions
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top higher education board will audit university admissions across the state, to make sure campuses are following the required minimum standards.
Wednesday’s announcement from the Board of Regents comes after Louisiana State University reworked its admissions approach, lessening its reliance on standardized test scores and grade point averages.
Regents staff expect to start their audit process in January and issue a report in the spring.
“Given the heightened interest in admissions standards and the role of the Board of Regents in enforcing standards and expectations, now is clearly the time to take a deep dive into our institutions’ compliance,” Regents Chairman Bob Levy said in a statement.
The admissions changes enacted by LSU have provoked complaints, including from Regents member Richard Lipsey, an LSU graduate who has helped raise millions for the university.
Until this year, the state’s flagship university required potential incoming freshmen to have a 3.0 high school GPA and a 22 on the ACT college entrance exam to be considered for admission, with limited exceptions.
Now, instead of immediately rejecting an applicant who didn’t achieve the minimum GPA and test scores, campus officials also are considering personal essays, outside activities, recommendation letters, and other selling points for students.
LSU President F. King Alexander has said the approach mirrors admissions policies at 80 percent of the nation’s flagship universities. He said two data points alone don’t necessarily show the likelihood of student success, and he noted the average ACT score this year for incoming freshmen remains 26 even with the changes.
Before de-emphasizing the reliance on GPA and ACT scores, LSU already had been using a different, stricter standard than required by Regents, which started using minimum admissions standards for the state’s public four-year universities in 2005.
Under the Regents requirements, LSU’s incoming freshmen must have a 3.0 high school GPA or a 25 ACT score, with up to 4 percent of the enrolling class allowed exceptions. Other Louisiana colleges have lower admissions standards and larger percentages of exceptions allowed.
Regents will be looking at the students admitted to campuses under the exception allowances, as part of its review.