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University System Reports Success With 2001 Admissions Goals

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Atlanta — October 12, 1999

At the halfway point to phase-in of its 2001 Admissions Policy, the University System of Georgia is reporting documentable success with increasing entering freshmen’s academic requirements.

At the monthly Board of Regents meeting, held this month at Macon State College, in Macon, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. James Muyskens reported a significant decrease in the number of students entering the University System underprepared to perform college-level work.

According to Muyskens, traditional freshmen entering public colleges and universities with an inadequate number of required college preparatory courses has decreased from 27 percent to 16 percent from fiscal year 1996 to fiscal year 1999. Enrollment of traditional freshmen in the University System requiring learning support courses (because they did not meet the System’s minimum requirements) also dropped significantly during the same three-year period, from 36 percent to approximately 21 percent, Muyskens reported. Another 9.2 percent still fail to meet additional admissions requirements established by individual institutions.

At the same time, the University System recorded a 25-point jump in the average SAT score of all first-time freshmen, which increased from 988 in Fall 1996 to 1013 in Fall 1998. With the focus of the Admissions Policy being on traditional freshmen (entering freshmen who have graduated from college in the past five years), University System officials also were proud to report a 14-perecent jump in the scores of those students, which increased from 984 in Fiscal Year 1996 to 998 in FY ‘99. Scores of entering freshmen at the state’s two regional universities in the Southern part of the state increased by 27 points to 986, up from 959, during the same time period. Research universities also recorded a continued climb in the scores of its traditional entering freshmen, which hit a category high of 1187, a 10-point increase over the 1177 average score recorded in FY ‘96.

“We are where we need to be today, but we still have a long way to go, because we are not where we need to be in 2001,” said Muyskens. “We set before ourselves a daunting task, and we’ve managed to do what we said we would do. But this is no time to be complacent. The second half of this process will be even tougher than the first, because we must focus even harder on the poorest prepared students.”

The Board of Regents passed its revised Admissions Policy in 1996, with a goal of phased-in implementation at its 34 colleges and universities beginning in Fall 1997 through Fall 2001.

At that time, the board articulated four goals: increasing average SAT scores, reducing admission of students with CPC deficiencies, reducing the percentage of traditional freshmen in learning support courses, and continuing to serve a diverse population. All four goals are on target, including no substantial decrease in the percentage of African-American students. The percentage of African-American traditional freshmen enrolled in the University System of Georgia totaled 24 percent in Fiscal Year 1996 and 23 percent in FY 1999.

The board’s 2001 admissions standards set in place higher standards for traditional freshmen and transfer students. Standards are more flexible for students who have been out of high school more than five years. A full college-prep curriculum will be required of all traditional freshmen, including an additional (fourth) unit of math (see attached chart). In addition, students will be evaluated according to their freshman index, comprised of their high-school grade point average and ACT or SAT standardized tests score.

All students must meet established minima SAT/ACT scores and grade-point averages, with requirements set higher for access into the University System’s universities. Traditional freshmen without the mandatory college-prep curriculum or who require learning support courses no longer will be admitted to the System’s research, regional or state universities. Learning support courses, for those students who still require such support, will be concentrated in the University System’s two-year colleges, which will serve as the point of access into the System. Students who succeed at the two-year colleges may then transfer on to a university, aided by enhanced transfer policies also implemented as a component of the revised admissions requirement.

Muyskens said the goal of the board’s 2001 Admissions policy has been to “balance the new standards with the need for controlled flexibility.”

“We’ve set the right course for our goals, and we are quite mindful of the need for continued communication,” Muyskens stated. “Our challenges are to communicate continually our new requirements to future students and to monitor the results diligently, looking for danger signs of any potentially adverse impact of the policy.”

Today’s presentation marked Muyskens’ last report to the board in his role as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, as he prepares to assume the post of chief executive officer and dean of the faculty at the new high-tech Gwinnett Center, a collaborative venture of Georgia Perimeter College and the University of Georgia.

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