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Colorado higher ed commission votes to temporarily ease restrictions

VAIL Colo.

Students with high grade-point averages or high ACT or SAT scores can enter Colorado’s public colleges next year even if they haven’t met strict new entrance requirements.


The Colorado Commission on Higher Education on Monday voted unanimously to temporarily back away from requirements that include four years of English and three years of algebra or higher math. Up to 20 percent of incoming college students failed to meet the standards.


The move, that gives colleges flexibility to grant exceptions, affects students entering in the fall of 2008. It also gives colleges time to adjust to the policy, said Julie Carnahan, chief academic officer for the commission.


While school districts have had four years to prepare students for the state’s minimum college standards, between 300 and 1,500 students a year hadn’t taken the right classes, Carnahan said.


“It’s not just a rural issue; it’s not just an urban issue. We suspect there are a variety of reasons this isn’t happening,” Carnahan said. “We felt like we needed some flexibility to avoid a train wreck.”


Even stricter standards will apply to the high school graduating class of 2010, who will also need one year of foreign language and four years of math.


Michael Poliakoff, vice president for Academic Affairs and Research at the University of Colorado, said next year’s exception was “rigorous and humane,” but added the new standards will reduce the number of students who need remedial courses.


“Remediation is not part of the mission,” he said. “It’s in no one’s interest to be taking in students who are not ready to hit the ground running.”


Roughly 14 percent of CU’s admitted students don’t meet minimum coursework standards. Poliakoff said he doesn’t expect that to change.

– Associated Press

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