Topeka The leaders of Kansas University and Kansas State were asked by legislators Tuesday whether the schools should increase their academic requirements for incoming freshmen.
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and K-State President Kirk Schulz said the schools were trying graduate as many students as they could who qualify for admission.
Gray-Little told the House Education Budget Committee that the freshman class’ average ACT was 24.9, almost three points higher than the national average, and one-third of them scored a 27 or higher.
Rep. Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, suggested maybe KU and K-State should make the 24.9 score required so that students who aren’t prepared for the rigors of college aren’t admitted.
Schulz said sometimes borderline students can be helped by improving their study skills.
Committee Chairwoman Lana Gordon, R-Topeka, said many students who don’t score well on the ACT go on to become good students.
“There’s so much more that goes into that. I would hate for us to go strictly on a scoring system,” she said.
Recently, the Kansas Board of Regents approved tougher admissions standards that will be required for students graduating from high school in 2015 and later.
To get into KU or any other regent university, a student must either complete a pre-college curriculum, get a 21 or higher on the ACT, or rank in the top third of their graduating high school class.
Under the change, completion of a pre-college curriculum or Kansas Scholars curriculum with at least a 2.0 grade-point average would be required and then either an ACT score of 21 or higher, combined SAT score of 980 or higher on math and critical reading, or rank in the top third in the graduating class.
The pre-college curriculum includes a higher math hurdle than before. It includes three years of math with the requirement that the student meet the ACT college readiness benchmark or take four years of math, including one year during the student’s senior year.
Gray-Little, Schulz and Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, testified to the committee in support of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal for higher education. The proposal would essentially keep higher education funding at the current level.
After two years of cuts, and with the state still facing an estimated $492 million revenue shortfall, Gray-Little said she appreciated Brownback’s proposal.