Standards changes mean more will qualify for Kansas colleges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More students will qualify for Kansas public universities under new admission standards approved by the state Board of Regents.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to eliminate a rule that required high school students to take specific courses in English, math and science before attending the universities. Class rank also will no longer be considered for admissions, and most students with a C or C+ GPA will be accepted at a majority of the universities, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Regents said under the new standards, 87% of Kansas high school graduates will qualify for admission to Wichita State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University and Pittsburg State University.

The standards for those four universities will be an ACT score of 21 or a GPA of 2.25. Kansas State University will require a 21 ACT score and a 3.25 GPA.

The only change at the University of Kansas will be dropping the curriculum requirement. Students there will still need an ACT score of 21 and a GPA of 3.25, or an ACT score of 24 and a GPA of 3.0.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the new requirements will take effect next fall. Board documents said several education regulations would need to be changed before the new requirements are implemented.

Daniel Archer, the regents' vice president for academic affairs, said dropping the class rank and the curriculum requirement will make the admissions process easier for students and university officials. He also said the GPA is generally regarded as a better measure of student readiness for college than class rank, which can change from semester to semester.

"We aimed to really simplify the process and we tried to take out some of the bureaucracy," Archer said.

Rather than requiring specific courses, the universities high school students will need to complete 21 classes, or "units," in specific areas, including four units of English and three units each of math, natural science and social science.

The new standards change requirements that have been in place since 2001. Before that, the state allowed any Kansas high school graduate to attend its universities.

The changes will help provide flexibility to school districts that are participating in a redesign project promoted by the Kansas State Department of Education, said Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

"One of the things we often hear about school redesign is . you have to make sure you offer the courses (required) to get into college," Tallman said. "So if that's taken away, it's more flexibility."

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com