Virginia and North Carolina colleges to lower admission requirements

Posted at 11:27 AM, Feb 04, 2015

Richmond, Va.— Senior year is stressful enough before factoring in the stresses of college applications, but Virginia and North Carolina colleges are now making the admissions process easier by lowering SAT score requirements.

Three years ago, SAT scores reached a four-decade low. Many experts credit the decline to varying factors such as poverty to a lack of interest in higher education. With a lower number of students taking the SAT, colleges have seen a decline in enrollment. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) saw a slight enrollment decline, but Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in North Carolina suffered a significant drop.  These enrollment deficits are attributed to a number of factors including decreased state funding, but no longer will SAT scores hold students back.

In Virginia, VCU led four other institutions in restructuring their admissions process—an action that now accepts lower SAT scores. Michael Rao, VCU President, assured that lowering the SAT requirements does not lower its quality standards; rather they are choosing to focus more on GPA.

The University’s former admissions GPA range was 3.28 to 3.90; with a SAT score requirement range of 1010 to 1200. With this restructure, applicants with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher will no longer have to submit SAT scores. A process that university vice provost for strategic enrollment management believes in as it provides an accurate, holistic depiction of the student.

In North Carolina, the University of North Carolina Board of Governor’s approved a pilot program that aims to “provide an opportunity to test what national research and UNC predictive analytics suggest about the positive correlation between HSGPA and student success,” according to official meeting documents. The Minimum Admission Requirements (MAR) program allows the admission of students with a higher high school GPA but lower SAT/ACT score.

ECSU and two other campuses (North Carolina Central University and Fayetteville State University) are piloted under the MARs program that begins in the fall of 2015. ECSU Chancellor, Stacey Franklin Jones, says she doesn’t see SAT/ACT stores as accurate predicators of student success, rather a students GPA provides whether or not he/she grasped the material. “Its (MARs program) an opportunity to study the success of students with different combinations of GPA and SAT/ACT scores,” she said.

 ECSU and VCU would join about 800 other universities around the country that already have dropped the requirements.

These two institutions prove that every kind of institution in any state experiences common issues, and that all University policies are beginning to mirror each other.

McKinley Strother, WTKR Intern