Archive for Monday, December 19, 2011

KU considering how to balance need to grow enrollment, tougher admission standards

December 19, 2011


After last week’s directive from the Kansas Board of Regents to raise admissions standards, Kansas University officials are trying to balance that effort with another goal of increasing its enrollment.

“We are looking for a way of doing this that encourages students to be more prepared so they can be more successful,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.

She said that effort would involve looking at students’ level of performance in high school or on one of the standardized tests.

State government officials have expressed concern about KU’s continued membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, and its existing enrollment policy forces KU to accept students who might struggle there.

“We are probably one of the few AAU schools with students who have ACT scores between 12 and 36,” said Matt Melvin, KU’s associate vice provost for recruitment and enrollment. “I’m not sure that benefits the state, if it benefits the institution and most importantly, if it benefits the student.”

That’s especially true as more students rack up large amounts of debt to attend classes, he said.

Melvin often talks about the need to balance quality, quantity and diversity of the incoming class.

As KU is facing multiple years of declining enrollment, Melvin said he’s aware an increase in the quality of those admitted could mean a decrease in the quantity. He said he hoped an increased retention rate would offset a potential slide in enrollment in the first year with fewer people leaving KU in later years. KU will also begin more aggressively recruiting transfer students as well as determining ways of increasing enrollment, including by looking at international students, its mix of graduate students and distance delivery of education, Melvin said.

KU will work on the minimum thresholds it wants to set, Melvin said, as they have been doing in the past. Those aren’t set yet, but will be an increased priority moving forward.

“Clearly from the directive last week, it’s, ‘We expect to have something in front of us in the spring,’” Melvin said. “That changes the pace a little bit.”


scarletbhound 6 years, 2 months ago

According to the CNNMoney website, KU has one of the lowest four-year graduation rates in the Big 12, with around 32 percent receiving their degree in that time period. While some of this is no doubt linked to costs etc., I suspect the primary problem is that KU admits too many dunderheads who have no business attending a major university. Moreover, KU's admission standards are pathetic, far below Mizzou and other Big 12 schools. The pressure to increase enrollment will only lead to a further diminution of academic quality, reducing what was once a prestigious university to little more than a glorified junior college or a University of Phoenix with a great basketball program. My suggestion is that KU raise its standards and let the idiots go to a community college or a DeVry type school. It is a total waste of faculty time and other scarce university resources to try to make something out of high school graduates with ACT scores in the teens and low 20s. To allow these people into KU lowers the academic climate on campus, leading capable students to go elsewhere rather than be surrounded by academic bottom crawlers.

littlexav 6 years, 2 months ago

I couldn't agree more. My ACT composite score was a 33 (SAT was 1440), and I almost flunked out of KU. They sent the "your son is a total screw-up" letter to my parents and everything. ACT scores have nothing to do with academic success. It's about discipline, focus, and determination, and I didn't have much of either when I started college.

ljwhirled 6 years, 2 months ago

This is easy. Cut costs without cutting quality.

If KU tuition was free of charge, some of the best students from across the country would apply simply because of the value provided.

If you screen a much larger pool of applicants carefully, you'll get better quality students.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Don't know. They may lose some players, but I don't know about loosing any of them.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 2 months ago

So KU should model itself after the Yugo?

Jonathan Fox 6 years, 2 months ago

As a college student myself, I have to agree that the admissions requirements might as well be nonexistent. If they do raise requirements I sure hope they do it right. If they misrepresent the requirements they will miss out on great students. Myself for example, I got a 28 on the ACT but barely missed getting a 3.0 GPA. If the requirements are set incorrectly lots of people who deserve an education from KU will be excluded.

I do have to agree with Big B that the constant tuition hikes have had many students seeking out alternatives. Johnson County Community College for example has recently passed all other schools in the entire state of Kansas in enrollment including KU.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 6 years, 2 months ago

If the knee jerks, dodge it. I don't know what that means, exactly, but believe it's true...or that I'm kidding. KU has a talent and penchant for making the wrong decisions. It usually stems from the desire and belief that they can compete with bigger, better funded schools by hiring second rate pundits of plagiarized platitudes and metric excuse. "Difficultas ad sidera!" Go cheap, KU. Dodge the brilliance of the masses and find the sweet, green fields of a creative and catholic, educative experience. Be all that. You can be. WHOA! The pain medication is kicking in.

cowboy 6 years, 2 months ago

perhaps if the freshmen students were not sui , studying while impaired , they would have a significantly higher success rate.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

Part of the problem is low admission standards, yes, but another part of the problem is that the university actively tries to get rid of students instead of helping them succeed. Don't tell me there aren't still "weed out" classes there.

I'm not saying that you should give people easy grades. I am saying that you should provide a path for success for those who are willing to work for it. In some cases that path might be to tell the student to go to a community college for two years first, but it's something KU needs to examine.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 2 months ago

Admissions will undoubtledly drop as KU raises admissions standards.

The best way to counteract this is to attract good students from neighboring states due to KU's enhanced reputation. This will take some time, however, so enrollments will likely drop in the short term.

Mark Pickerel 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm hearing applications are way up this year, most likely because of the new scholarship structure. If that trend continues, maybe raised admission standards are a good thing.

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