By Denise Dick
Beginning in fall 2014, Youngstown State University will no longer accept every student who applies.
YSU President Randy J. Dunn said the university will remain an open-access institution, but over the years that had morphed into a practice of open enrollment.
The university will continue its conditional admission procedure, offering admission to students who fall below certain standards, typically those scoring below a 17 on the ACT or below 820 on the SAT, but those who score very low may not be admitted.
Dunn said some students admitted scored between 6 and 12 on the ACT.
“Those students are not college ready,” he said Tuesday.
They could be referred to Eastern Gateway Community College or another community college, and if they prove they’re prepared for college, YSU wants them to apply, Dunn said.
He estimated the procedure change would affect between 25 and 50 students annually.
Dunn said it doesn’t fulfill a moral imperative to admit students whose scores are so low.
“They sign up for a year, they get loans to pay for school” and they don’t succeed, he said.
They’ve lost a year of time and a year of money, the president said.
There won’t be a defined line between those admitted conditionally and those denied admission. University admissions professionals will be asked to use their discretion.
Conditionally admitted students must fulfill a contract with the Center for Student Progress, which includes meeting weekly with an academic coordinator and two times during the term with their college academic adviser among other criteria.
Besides doing a disservice to the student, admitting students who aren’t prepared for college hurts the university, Dunn said.
Under a new funding formula, about half of the university’s state support is driven by its graduation rate. YSU’s most recent six-year graduation rate is about 37 percent.
Students dropping out negatively affects the rate.
Other four-year comprehensive master’s level universities have about a 50 percent graduate rate, Dunn estimates. By remaining an open-access institution, though, YSU likely won’t reach that percentage, he said.
“We’re not abandoning our access policy,” Dunn said. “We still admitting conditionally. We’re keeping our access mandate.”