Enrollment requirements tighten at Edinboro University

Category:  News
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 at 5:09 PM

At his Feb. 16 town hall meeting, Edinboro University President Dr. H. Fred Walker stated that many changes will be occurring at the university, with the first proving to be modifications within Edinboro’s admission standards.

“Beginning with students admitted for enrollment this fall, the university is increasing its admission standard in two steps. The second step will be in fall 2018,” said Edinboro University’s Director of Communications Jeffrey Hileman.

He continued: “To obtain a prospective student’s score for admission, her (or his) GPA (Grade Point Average) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) are plugged into a mathematical formula that’s designed to give greater weight to the GPA, while allowing the student to offset a lower GPA with a higher SAT, or vice versa, within limits. The minimum score set for 2017 is higher than the score obtained when the former minimum GPA and SAT numbers are plugged into the formula, and the 2018 minimum score is higher still.”

Previously, enrollment requirements at Edinboro University included an SAT score of at least 800 and a minimum high school grade point average of 2.5.

“The benefit of the equation for students, versus simply setting minimum standards, is that the equation places greater emphasis on high school GPA and enables a student who works hard and excels in the classroom, but does not take standardized tests well, to offset a somewhat lower SAT with a higher GPA. Students with high SAT and somewhat lower GPAs benefit similarly,” said Hileman.

The new standards are expected to decrease the size of incoming classes, but in the long run, look to increase the quality of the education Edinboro University offers its students.

“It (the new admission standard) is expected to have significant impact on the rate at which students are retained and graduate within four years. It is good for students and strengthens the university in the long term,” said Hileman.

He continued: “The new, higher admission standards apply to most students studying in main campus programs. Edinboro University will continue to offer opportunities to other students who have a commitment to pursue higher education through Porreco College and the Academic Enrichment Program, which are not included in the new standards.”

With the changes in admission standards already in the works at the campus level, modifications within Edinboro University’s budget at the state level may be the next change to follow.

In October, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) Board of Governors submitted an appropriation request for the 2017-18 academic year to the governor’s office for $505.2 million, an increase of $61 million from the current year’s total.

As a result, the governor proposed to grant the state system with $8.9 million to disperse to the 14 state universities throughout next year; which has yet to be approved.

“The funds are distributed to the 14 universities throughout the year based on a funding formula, which considers enrollment, mix of course offerings, etcetera. The universities know soon after the budget is passed the amount of state funding they will receive for the year,” said PASSHE spokesperson Kenn Marshall.

He continued: “Those funds are then combined with all other university revenue, mostly from tuition and fees, to form the school’s budget. That is what they have to operate on for the year; if it is less than they had originally budgeted, or if there are unexpected expenses, they determine individually what steps must be taken to eliminate any deficit and balance their budget.”

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty (APSCUF) is also working with the state system and state universities regarding the potential budget change.

“We (APSCUF) worked with the state system to develop some talking points that demonstrate why it’s important to fund our universities, because doing so is an investment in Pennsylvania’s future. It was important that we convey how funding our universities is so much more than investing in one person or one university,” said APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton.

She continued: “We can’t know exactly what will happen, but we expect the state system will look for ways to make up its budget shortfall, and those ways could be at the expense of students. We don’t want to see that happen. We want our students to be able to afford high-quality education, and we want our faculty members to continue to have what they need to provide that affordable, high-quality education.”

Marshall expressed that “on the more positive side,” PASSHE was the only higher education system Governor Tom Wolf proposed an increase in the budget for; this excluding Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, Lincoln and community colleges.

“We will continue to advocate for the full amount of increase we requested. The final figure probably won’t be determined until around the end of June, when the state budget is passed,” said Marshall.

Macala Leigey is a managing editor for The Spectator and can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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