Western Kentucky University is expecting a short-term enrollment drop as the school implements a stricter admissions policy.
WKU will no longer enroll students with a cumulative, unweighted grade point average below 2.0.
Incoming freshmen must also have a composite admissions index score of at least 60. The score is a student's high school GPA multiplied by 20, plus their ACT composite score, with the GPA contributing at most 50 points. For prospective students wanting to check their eligibility, a composite admissions index calculator is available at wku.edu/admit.
Students who are admitted with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.4 will be required to complete a five-week Summer Scholars program that's intended to acclimate them to college-level work. Upon completion, students will earn six credit hours and continue at WKU in the fall semester. If students choose not to go through the summer classes, they'll be referred to schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. After completing 24 hours at a KCTCS school, students could apply to transfer to WKU.
The new standards are expected to decrease the size of the 2019 freshman class. WKU Admissions Director Jace Lux says while the university may experience an initial enrollment drop, the hope is to retain students at a higher rate.
"We have plenty of students who leave after one semester here and even more who leave after one year here," Lux told WKU Public Radio. "Those students leave with no degree to show for it, saddled with debt, and many of them leave oweing the university money."
Based on numbers from the fall 2017 incoming class, 102 enrolled freshmen would not have been eligible for admission under the new requirements. Lux adds that 244 first-time students would have been referred to the Summer Scholars program.
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education voted in June to establish minimum admission requirements at the state’s public colleges and universities, although WKU had been considering raising admission standards for quite a while.