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UH-Downtown may drop open admissions

This could have some broad implications.

After less than four months on the job, the new president of the University of Houston-Downtown has launched an agenda to reshape the school’s future.

First up: creating admission standards for a school that historically has accepted anyone with a high school diploma or GED.

William Flores, who arrived on campus last summer, said he is committed to non-traditional students and those who need a helping hand.

“But we also want our students to be more successful,” he said, and attending a four-year school may not be good for students who require more than a few remedial courses. Instead, he said, those students would do better at a community college, where they can prepare for college-level work at a fraction of the cost.

You may recall that the University of Houston is seeking to raise its admission standards. If UH-D follows suit, even with the modest standards they are proposing – top 50% of graduating class, 2.0 or higher GPA, 860 SAT or 18 ACT score – that will put a lot of pressure on the community colleges to pick up the slack. The justification for this is pretty straightforward:

Just 13.4 percent of students who entered UH-Downtown as freshmen in 2002 had earned a degree six years later. The state average is 56 percent.

Doesn’t really seem like it’s in anyone’s best interests for that high a percentage of students to not graduate. Of course, at the end of the day, what’s really needed is for high school graduates who want to attend college to be better prepared for it. That can’t be done by decree, and with the neverending school finance battle about to be joined again, I don’t see much hope for that happening soon. But it’s what needs to be done, and the choice is ours as to when we get around to doing it. I say the sooner the better, but good luck with the Governor and the Legislature.

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