Pennsylvania State Colleges Drop Automatic Admissions Proposal
State-owned universities have dropped a proposal to offer automatic admissions to top Pennsylvania students following federal opposition to similar plans in other states.
The State System of Higher Education has been studying since last spring the idea of giving automatic admissions at the 14 state institutions to Pennsylvania students graduating in the top 15 percent of their high school classes (see Black Issues, Nov. 9).
But the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has already condemned similar programs in Texas, California and Florida, and that opposition could have hindered the program in Pennsylvania, says a spokesman from the State System of Higher Education.
Instead of the class-rank plan, the system might try using Pennsylvania System of School
Assessment scores to guarantee admission to eligible high school graduates, he says. The other states used class rank to replace affirmative action policies that allowed race to be considered in admissions.
Pennsylvania officials had considered using class rank to supplement affirmative action, hoping to recruit more minority students from inner-city schools, including those in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, because students would be evaluated based on how they rank against their classmates.
Minorities make up 12 percent of the state’s population but about 8.4 percent of the system’s 96,275 enrollment.
The civil rights commission last spring characterized class-rank plans as “attacks on affirmative action” and says they would harm minorities’ chances of getting into and succeeding in college.
The State System includes Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana,
Kutztown, Lock Haven,
Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities.
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