Florida Atlantic University which has had a reputation of being a safe school for prospective applicants.
The Boca Raton school which has had a near open admission policy for about the last decade, will now require prospective students to have a 3.6 grade point average for admission next fall, up from a 3.3 this year and 3.0 last fall. The minimum score for the ACT entrance exam increases from 20 to 22.
University President, John Kelly said that he expects the GPA for incoming freshmen to be 4.0 next fall, which would be up from 3.8 this year. The new admissions standards could make FAU closer to Florida State University, University of Central Florida and University of South Florida.
The effort is part of FAU plan to improve their academic performance. Currently, about 45 percent of the students graduate within six years. The total is up from around 40 percent in 2014, but still ranks as the second lowest in the state of Florida.
Kelly told the Sun Sentinel, “We are trying to change the graduation rates, and better prepared students tend to graduate more.” He added, “We want to get more students to finish with the degrees and move on with lives and career.”
The high school students that do not meet the GPA standards, will be referred to community colleges so that they may work to transfer to FAU at a later date.
When the colleges and universities received their funding based on admission, FAU’s standards were to increase their admission totals by about five percent a year. Since the state has become concerned that those standards could diminish the educational quality, they started rewarding schools based on performance in the areas of graduation, retention and service to minority or low income students.
After crunching the numbers, Kelly said officials at the school, felt that they could raise entrance requirements without affecting FAU’s racial makeup. Currently that makeup includes, 46 percent white, 19 percent black and 24 percent Hispanic.
This fall, Kelly said, “We had admitted everyone above a 3.3 GPA and had about 500 more freshmen that we anticipated. My goal is not to get bigger, so part of the way to control that is to accept only the better achieving students.”
The freshmen spike was not a problem this year, as the overall enrollment pretty much stayed constant at 30,000, as the school encouraged more seniors to complete their degrees. Kelly did say that if the enrollment continues to rise the school may have to build additional facilities.
School officials say one of the advantages to a large freshman class, is that the residence halls are full this semester. As all freshmen that live more than 30 miles away from campus, are required to reside on campus, this year’s 96 percent occupancy is up from around 83 percent last year.
A few local students also decided they wanted to live on campus as well. One of those local students, Caitlyn Carro, of Delray Beach told the Sun Sentinel about her decision to live on campus, “I can be close to my family and still have my independence.”