The Kansas Board of Regents approved changes to the University of Kansas freshman admission requirements in a meeting March 17-18 with KU’s Office of the Provost, specifically that applicants are now able to be accepted without having to take an ACT or SAT.
Under the new requirements, applicants can be accepted into KU if they have a 21+ ACT and a minimum 2.0 high school GPA, or a minimum 3.25 GPA regardless of their test score. The current requirements are a 21+ ACT and a minimum 3.25 GPA or a 24+ ACT and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The main reason for the changes was the closing of ACT and SAT testing sites over the past year due to COVID-19. KU director of news and media relations, Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said these changes will make KU more competitive with other schools currently placing less emphasis on test scores.
“A guaranteed test-optional pathway supports qualified applicants whose performance on a standardized testing doesn’t align with their academic performance in high school,” Barcomb-Peterson said. “A guaranteed test-optional pathway transparently provides clear admissions standards, which are valued by students.”
University Senate President Sanjay Mishra said he was surprised when he learned of the changes, as the University Senate was not consulted during the decision making process, and instead was told the proposal would be made at the KBOR meeting. Mishra said he cannot speak for the entire University Senate, but his personal opinion is that these new requirements lower the standards of KU.
“Not having ACT and SAT is a good thing, because those standardized tests have been shown to be biased,” Mishra said. “But, I cannot say what the premise was [of lowering the GPA requirements.] If we’re lowering it that much, why 2.0, not 1.5? There’s no basis, show us the data.”
Mishra also expressed concern with how the University Senate wasn’t consulted during the creation of the proposal.
“It’s a tricky issue, I know the university is going through declining enrollment,” Mishra said. “But, this has gone up in the chain of command, and no one in the chain of command thought it was important to discuss this with the faculty and the students, the two main constituents of the university.”
In Article II of KU’s Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations, it states, “policies for admission and readmission are established by the faculties of the various schools or the College, within the parameters of state laws and Regents regulations and within guidelines set by the Faculty Senate.”