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Regents Approve Pilot Admissions Program

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Pilot Program Would Eliminate Use of SAT for Admission at Two-Year Colleges

Atlanta — April 20, 2005

In a move aimed at expanding admission into the state’s public two-year colleges, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) gave its approval today to a pilot admission program that will remove standardized tests as a criteria for consideration.

The pilot will begin in fall semester 2005.

According to USG Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith, the two-year pilot program is an important component of the board’s work to broaden access to higher education and increase the production of college graduates. It will eliminate the use of SAT and ACT scores and the University System’s “Freshman Index” in determining eligibility for admission to the System’s 13 two-year colleges and two state colleges and those attending “university colleges” at three state universities.

The Freshman Index is a University-System-specific mathematical formula that combines a student’s high-school grade point average and SAT or ACT score into a single index for purposes of determining eligibility to the System’s 34 institutions.

“We absolutely must increase the number of Georgians who earn college degrees, ” Meredith said. “In order to do so, we have to open the door wider to Georgia’s high-school graduates and to those students who have earned GEDs. This policy change is one additional step in the path toward ‘Creating A More Educated Georgia.’”

The pilot admissions program will require a high-school diploma or GED of all students, with no exceptions. It also will require a 2.0 minimum grade point average for students who graduate from a high school college prep curriculum, and a 2.2 minimum grade point average for those graduating from a technical curriculum. Completion of the 16-unit college preparatory curriculum or the 13-unit technical preparatory curriculum would be required for students in programs leading to a baccalaureate degree. Also under the proposed pilot effort, the current percentage of students admitted to two-year colleges as “presidential exceptions” would be reduced from 33 percent to 20 percent of the preceding year’s freshmen enrollment.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Academics and Fiscal Affairs Daniel S. Papp said the new pilot admissions program adopted by the Regents reflects three key developments at the two-year college level since the Board of Regents approved its 1996 admissions policy changes, which were implemented throughout the University System by summer 2002.

First the regents conducted a “Statewide Assessment” which reviewed a wide range of board policies, System data, student enrollment projections, future population trends and workforce needs. One of the key recommendations of the assessment was to increase access to higher education in the state, particularly at two-year colleges. System officials theorized that eliminating the University System’s Freshman Index and its inclusion of the SAT and ACT for admission to two-year colleges would broaden access to public higher education by making more Georgians eligible for admission to these institutions.

Second, an analysis was conducted of national admissions practices at two-year colleges. Nationally, the University System of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin System are the only widespread users of admissions tests at two-year colleges.

Third, an internal analysis of student academic performance of student academic performance within the USG led to the conclusion that a student’s high-school grade-point average was an accurate predictor of their freshman grades in the USG’s two-year colleges. The System’s analysis found that adding the student’s SAT or ACT scores to the high-school grade point average did not improve that prediction.

“If the SAT or ACT doesn’t add anything to our decision regarding who to admit at our two-year colleges, then why require it?’” said Papp. Traditional freshmen who desire to attend the System’s four-year institutions still will be required to have taken either the SAT or ACT as part of the admissions criteria.

The admissions policy change also is critically aligned with the newly launched public-private “Education. Go Get It.” initiative aimed, at significantly increasing the numbers of Georgians who earn a high school diploma and pursue a postsecondary education. Meredith noted that as more Georgians consider college, two-year colleges will serve as an increasingly important access point to higher education and any barriers to accessing these institutions need to be removed.

The effects of the pilot admissions program will be evaluated after three years. The Board of Regents will be asked to determine in late 2007 whether or not to make the pilot admission standards permanent.

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