Valley Falls Kansas University should look to more than just test scores, grades and high school class rank when deciding which students are ready for college, new Provost Richard Lariviere said Wednesday.
Lariviere introduced his idea for a "holistic admissions" process to the Kansas Board of Regents at the board's annual retreat.
"We want kids who are going to succeed from day one," he said.
KU administrators have tossed around new admissions standards in recent years. Former Provost David Shulenburger saw KU's raising the bar as a way to keep the state's best students in Kansas and as an economic booster. But, so far, KU has not taken a specific plan to the Regents.
Chancellor Robert Hemenway said admissions standards were an issue that stirred emotions and KU was moving cautiously on how it might seek to change them.
"We don't have a definite timeline on this," he said. "We're just in the process of studying it."
Currently, admissions standards at the Regents institutions are set by state law.
Incoming freshmen from Kansas schools need an ACT score of at least 21 or an SAT score of at least 980, a 2.0 grade point average, and rank in the top one-third of the high school class.
In a holistic admissions process, KU would look beyond those standards to a student's entire file, Lariviere said. And the university would look to see whether a student could actually succeed at KU, he said. He also said KU would look for a "rich mixture" of students in terms of geography, life experiences, race, gender and socioeconomic levels.
The board also discussed its plans to try to persuade legislators to pay for a backlog of maintenance needed at the state universities.
The board's proposal for tax increases and bonds to address the problem didn't move in the last legislative session.
Regents staff are researching the updated cost of the maintenance problem as well as looking at the needs of technical schools, community colleges and Washburn University.
Regents President Reginald Robinson said lawmakers asked the Regents to look at the entire scope of the maintenance issue. Robinson said adding the other schools' needs to the list may help by broadening political support for a solution. But it also may increase the size of the problem, making it tougher to get addressed.
Regents staff members are expected to bring their reports to the board in November.