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• I’ll be zipping over to Topeka this afternoon to monitor the thrilling happenings at the Kansas Board of Regents. (OK, so you and I have different definitions of thrilling. I’m cool with that if you are.)
One such happening will be qualified admissions for KU students. Thrilled yet? While that may not thrill everyone, some folks up on the hill have been working on this one for a good long while.
KU has been seeking to separate itself from the admissions standards from the other regents universities in recent years, and the regents gave their blessing to this idea. Low admissions standards come back to haunt KU in a number of ways. To name just one, it’s a factor in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings that are watched by many all over the country. KU will be presenting the new standards today.
Under the existing criteria, a Kansas high school student can get admitted to KU if he or she:
• has an ACT score of 21 or higher or an SAT score of 980 or higher, OR
• ranks in the top one-third of the high school class, OR
• has a 2.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale in the Kansas Qualified Admissions curriculum.
To be automatically admitted under the new standards, students would have to complete the Kansas Qualified Admissions Precollege Curriculum with a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0 on all transferable college coursework, up to 23 semester credit hours, along with achievement of one of the following:
• Graduation from a high school with a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative high school grade point average and a composite ACT score of 24 (1090 SAT equivalent).
• Graduation from a high school (accredited, non-accredited, or home school) with a minimum of a 3.25 cumulative high school grade point average and a composite ACT score of 21 (980 SAT equivalent).
Basically, it’s a bit of a trade-off, with higher GPAs earning students some slack on the standardized test scores, and vice versa. Students could also gain admission by way of a review committee, that would look at a number of other mitigating factors.
The board could take action on the new standards as soon as June.
• So, apparently, the folks occupying the Missouri House have seen fit to go so far as to pass actual legislation that would likely kill the chances of having a KU license plate in the state.
The way the process works now, you can either get a plate through an administrative process (which is what KU was trying to do), or get a bill passed through the General Assembly.
In a new amendment to a higher education bill, the legislators would remove the administrative option. Meaning KU would have to get a bill passed. And after all the hubbub in recent days, it’s starting to look like it might be easier for the General Assembly to pass a Casey Anthony license plate than a KU license plate.
• You may have noticed that one of the things KU wants to use its higher tuition for is “retention of faculty and staff.”
I asked Provost Jeff Vitter about how those funds (about $6 million) would be distributed. He told me it would be done in a similar fashion to what happened last year, when KU distributed $5.2 million in tuition funds for merit-based raises.
“It will be merit-based,” Vitter told me. “It will not be across the board.”
Last year, he said the raises were primarily targeted at retaining top faculty and staff who were targets for other universities.
This year, he said he hoped that the raises would be distributed more generally to high-performing faculty and staff who may not have received much of the pot last year but were still performing above expectations.
• While the regents are always a thrilling bunch, they’re never quite as thrilling as your tips for Heard on the Hill. Thrill me anytime at email@example.com.