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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Kan. regents OK new rules for KU, boost tuition

  •      The University of Kansas will have tougher admissions standards than the state's other public colleges, and tuition at all of the institutions will rise by as much as 6.9 percent this fall, because of decisions the higher education system's governing board made Wednesday.


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  •      The University of Kansas will have tougher admissions standards than the state's other public colleges, and tuition at all of the institutions will rise by as much as 6.9 percent this fall, because of decisions the higher education system's governing board made Wednesday.
         The state Board of Regents approved a proposal from University of Kansas officials to boost entry requirements for incoming freshmen, starting in fall 2016. Prospective students would have to earn at least a "B'' average in high school to gain automatic admission, while others would have their applications reviewed by a committee.
         The regents also approved tuition increases that are expected to raise an additional $31 million annually, to help offset rising operating costs at the state's six universities and the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. The increases will vary — and some students won't see higher rates — with the biggest boost experienced by new, out-of-state undergraduates at the University of Kansas.
         The regents acknowledged concerns that fewer high school graduates can afford to attend state universities as tuition rises each year but said extra funds are necessary to keep programs from slipping.   Boosting admission standards at the University of Kansas is designed to improve graduation rates by making sure incoming students are prepared.
         "I think this just says, not that we're excluding people, but we're trying to help them succeed and help them financially," said Regent Robba Moran, of Manhattan, the wife of U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran. "We don't want students to go to KU and not be successful at a large research institution. Then, that racks up their debt."
         Students can now enter any state university by scoring 21 out of 36 points on the ACT college-entrance exam, having a 2.0 GPA in a college prep curriculum or graduating in the top third of their high-school classes. The state plans to change those requirements in fall 2014, so that students must both achieve the ACT score and meet one of the other two requirements.
         But the new standards for automatic admittance to the University of Kansas would be even more stringent. A student with an ACT score of 21, 22 or 23 would have to earn a 3.25 grade-point average on a 4-point scale in high school. A student who scored 24 or better on the ACT could get in with a 3.0 grade-point average in high school.
         According to the university, about 65 percent of its freshman would have hit either mark, and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little stressed that students who can't will have their applications reviewed individually. In many cases, she said, they'll be admitted and receive guidance on how they can improve their chances of succeeding.
         Regents still expect to draft regulations to help flesh out the details of how the new plan will work.  University of Kansas officials believe that not only will a lower percentage of students drop out but that some high achievers will stay in Kansas instead of going out-of-state.
    Page 2 of 2 -      "If we do it right, we're going to raise our profile and increase demand," said Provost Jeffrey Vitter.
         The board approved the policy, 8-1, with the only dissenting vote from Regent Janie Perkins, of Garden City, who worried not only about the effects of the higher standards but the university's plans to set a new, Feb. 1 deadline for students who want to be admitted automatically.
         "I just feel like it may be a roadblock," she said. "I hope it's not."
         The regents were unanimous in backing tuition increases proposed by the state universities but, in what has become an annual ritual, they bemoaned the need to raise the additional funds.
         While the University of Kansas' increase for new out-of-state undergraduates is 6.9 percent, about 65 percent of its returning undergraduates are in a program that sets a single, guaranteed rate for four years.   Fort Hays State University proposed no increase for its out-of-state undergraduates.
         Tuition increases for undergraduates from Kansas will range from 2.9 percent at Fort Hays State to 6.2 percent at Emporia State University.
     
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