WKU announces new admission standards

A student walks in front of Cherry Hall on Feb. 22.

Nicole Ziege

WKU has announced new admission standards for fall 2019 through an email to all faculty and staff by Provost David Lee on Wednesday.

Under the new WKU admission standards, beginning freshmen with a cumulative high school GPA of below a 2.0 will no longer be admitted. Incoming freshmen must have at least a 2.0 cumulative unweighted GPA and have a Composite Admissions Index (CAI) score of at least 60, according to Lee’s email.

Students who are admitted with a cumulative high school GPA between 2.00 and 2.49 will be asked to complete the newly-formed Summer Scholars program, a five-week transition program that begins in July, Lee said in his email.

“The Summer Scholars program will give students the opportunity to acclimate to collegiate coursework while earning six credit hours,” Lee said in his email. “Students who successfully complete the Summer Scholars program will be eligible to continue at WKU in the fall semester.”

Lee said in his email that staff in the Office of Admissions and the Academic Advising and Retention Center at WKU will “work to connect students not meeting the minimum admission standards with KCTCS institutions to begin post-secondary education at the community college level.” He said that students who successfully complete 24 hours of coursework will then be able to apply to WKU as transfer students.

Lee said that the new minimum admission requirements for Kentucky public four-year institutions, including WKU, were voted on by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) in June, including no longer admitting incoming freshmen with a GPA below 2.0.

“Before these changes from CPE were announced, WKU had already initiated a significant review of the correlation between high school performance and college success,” Lee said in his email. “National research and our own analysis shows that combining ACT/SAT scores with the high school GPA best predicts a student’s chance of success. With this in mind, we made the decision to also amend our application review process to use an admission index score to evaluate all applications.”

Lee said in his email that the new admission standards will affect the size of the 2019 freshman class. He said that from the fall 2017 incoming class, 102 enrolled freshmen would not have been eligible for admission under the new requirements, and 244 first-time students would have been admitted into the Summer Scholars program.

Lee said that of the students who would no longer be admitted into WKU under the new requirements, “fewer than one in three would persist past the first year” and 7.3 percent would graduate in six years.

“Despite the budgetary challenges that we are navigating, we cannot in good conscience continue to enroll underprepared students who have very little chance of success,” Lee said in his email.

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.