Yesterday, the Louisiana Board of Regents raged and debated over the proposed changes to our state’s university admission criteria.
And while the debate at times got almost as maddening as what took place last week over SAVE, at the end they adopted new criteria.
These criteria will:
- Allow HBCUs (Grambling, Southern, SUNO) to admit students needing a single developmental class and to teach those courses (this will soon be allowed by state law as well if HB171 is signed);
- Allow the other regionals (McNeese, Nicholls, Southeastern, Northwestern, LSUA, LSUS, ULM) to also admit students needing a single developmental course, although community colleges will teach those courses. But again, the universities can now ADMIT those students;
- Permit students in on-campus community college/university bridge partnerships to transfer after completing 12 credit hours;
- Permit adult freshmen and transfer students (25 and over) needing a single developmental/refresher course to enroll at state universities.
The criteria will be adopted on a two year trial basis while Regents collects data on how effective they are in maintaining student retention and success.
And while our state’s institutional research offices may be about to pull their hair out over this, that’s OK with me. Because I’ve been looking at these data for a long time. And I’ve talked to others who have as well. The “zero developmental” criteria were doing a much better job of keeping students out of college than in college. I’m confident that the data Regents collect–assuming they collect the right data and ask the correct questions of the data–will bear this out. Because these are close to the standards that were already in place before fall 2014 WHEN COLLEGE RETENTION WAS ALREADY INCREASING AT INSTITUTIONS THAT HADN’T YET FULLY ENACTED THE GRAD ACT ZERO DEVELOPMENTAL STANDARDS.
Regional universities participating in the Co-Requisite Education Study (otherwise known as the co-developmental education “Pilot”) will also appreciate this because students who participate in co-developmental education will already meet the admissions standards. This means that students who don’t succeed in what is a STUDY will not risk being disenrolled en masse at the end of the fall semester, which is what some of our universities–especially ones enrolling 25% or more of their freshman class through this program–would have potentially been facing. It also means that the Co-Developmental Education Study will be right-sized and not tied to enrollment. It will be what it was meant to be–a study designed to see if we can improve developmental education in our state–which, sorry, a huge proportion of our high school graduates need. It won’t just be a way to get students in the door in the first place.
And while very few people said this publicly, these revised, published criteria will help reverse the near exclusion of our state’s African American high school graduates from direct admission to our state’s universities. In addition, the over one-quarter of TOPS eligible African American graduates who did not meet the previous published criteria will now be eligible for university admission as well.
For your pleasure, here is my last chart on this topic. Here’s my projection of the impact of the proposed standards:
|All Louisiana||African American|
|Graduates Class of 2014(From Student Transcript System)||46,678||16,687|
|Core 4 Graduates(From Student Transcript System)||33,619||10,997|
|Meet Any 4-Year Criteria (estimated from ACT EIS)||16,655 Previous
|Meet Flagship Minimum Criteria (estimating no change)||13930 (83.6% of market)
(Now 53.7% of market)
|1704 (71.6% of market)
(Now 33.2% of market)
|Meet Statewide Minimum Criteria – Unique Market Not Shared with LSU/Flagship Tier (estimating no change)||2106 Previous (12.7% of market)
(Now 8.1% of 4-year market)
|507 (21.3% of market)
(Now 9.9% of 4-year market)
|Meet Regional Minimum Criteria (Unique Market Not Shared with LSU and Statewide Tiers)||619 Previous (3.7% of market)
9861 New (38.1% of 4-year market)
|168 Previous (7.1% of market)
2925 New (56.9% of 4-year market)
|% Core Completing Grads Qualify 4-Year||49.5% Previous
|% All Grads Qualify 4-Year||35.7% Previous
While it doesn’t look that hot on paper for the statewides, the fact that regional institutions will have their own markets again, plus many students who are eligible for LSU have been going to the statewides anyway (the numbers of flagship and statewide eligible students won’t change), should ensure a much more stable market for all our universities. We won’t all be competing for the exact same students like before. We still have a long way to go in our state to achieve equity for our African American high school graduates. But this was a step in the right direction after five years of the opposite.
I will be buying some thank you cards today for the people who helped fight this fight. It’s not over. But this was a hugely important battle. And we won.