Report: Students admitted to college without meeting minimum standards have tougher time

? Students who enter public colleges in Kansas through exceptions to the minimum admission standards fare worse than other students, according to a new report.

“Data show students admitted as exceptions have lower retention, graduation and course completion rates than do regular admits,” the report by the Kansas Board of Regents said.

“This is not surprising, given that many, though not all, exceptions have gaps in their educational preparation,” it said.

The report, mandated in 2012 by legislators who voiced concerns about remedial courses at public universities, will be presented next week to the regents during the board’s monthly meeting.

To gain entrance to a regents school, freshmen from Kansas must score at least a 21 on the ACT, or graduate in the top one-third of their high school class, or complete a pre-college curriculum with at least a 2.0 grade point average.

But schools are allowed to admit up to 10 percent of the university’s total freshmen admissions who don’t meet this criteria.

This fall, 1,041 students, or 5 percent of the 20,278 new freshmen and transfer students were admitted as exceptions to the minimum requirements.

The report looked at retention rates — the percentage of freshmen who returned for their sophomore year.

From 2010 through 2012, retention rates for freshmen admitted as exceptions ranged from 50.6 percent to 57.1 percent. That compared with 80 percent of those who did meet the standards.

During the most recent year of statistics for students admitted as exceptions, Kansas University had the highest retention rates with 64.9 percent of resident freshmen retained, and 80 percent of non-resident freshmen retained.

Students who were admitted without meeting the minimum requirements also graduated at a much lower rate than other students, according to the report, which analyzed the six-year graduation rate.

For resident freshmen admitted as exceptions six years ago, 26.4 percent systemwide have graduated. That rate was 41.7 percent at KU.

Systemwide, 59.2 percent of freshman who met admission standards graduated. The rate at KU was 64.9 percent.