Anderson Hall

K-State and other state higher education institutions will see more simplified admissions criteria following a Kansas Board of Regents decision.

The Regents unanimously voted Wednesday to remove a precollege curriculum requirement for high school students. The state’s four-year institutions also will stop evaluating applicants on whether they ranked in the top third of their class. Instead, applicants will be evaluated on their grade point average.

At Emporia State, Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State and Wichita State universities, that cumulative GPA requirement is now 2.25. K-State, however, opted for a 3.25 GPA minimum. Both GPA requirements remain alternatives to the institutions’ existing option of admission with an ACT score of 21 or more.

The University of Kansas will maintain its two paths to admission — a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and minimum ACT of 21, or a GPA of 3.0 but with a higher minimum ACT score of 24 — but also will drop the precollege curriculum.

Under the precollege curriculum, students previously had to take four English classes, three to four math classes, three natural science classes, three social sciences classes and three electives in high school to be eligible for admission. A statewide task force found that the curriculum was redundant and ultimately complicated the admissions process for students, high school counselors and college admissions officers.

“GPA is a better measure,” Daniel Archer, vice president of academic affairs for the Regents, said. “It’s consistently regarded as a more reliable predictor of college readiness. It’s also a more standardized criterion where the student really competes with him or herself instead of the class rank, where the student is more competing against others.”

State education officials expect the new admissions criteria to make higher education more accessible to the state’s high school students.

The task force’s study shows that under the admissions procedure, about 87% of Kansas high school graduates would have met the new 2.25 GPA minimum. K-State officials said 93% of its freshman class last year would have met at least one of the criteria.

K-State officials said they opted for a higher GPA minimum after consulting with the Huron Consulting Group, the company the university partnered with as it tries to turn around declining enrollment.

The group found that students with a 3.25 GPA in high school were linked to a 12% higher retention rate than students with a 3.0 GPA.

In any case, students who do not meet the requirements can still be admitted into the state universities, but the Regents limit the number of those freshmen to 10% of the universities’ total admissions. Any student who attends a community or technical college with a 2.0 GPA in at least 24 credit hours is also eligible for admission to the four-year institutions.