University of Houston-Downtown will adopt automatic admission standards for incoming freshmen effective Fall 2013 following approval from the University of Houston System Board of Regents in a unanimous vote earlier today. UHD admission standards do not apply to transfer students or students returning to college.
Founded in 1974, UHD is one of four distinct universities in the University of Houston System and the last public university in Texas to adopt admission standards. It is the second largest public, four-year university in Houston and the 13th largest in Texas with a Fall 2011 enrollment of 12,918 students.
The new automatic admission standards are as follows:
- Freshmen candidates who graduate in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class will be automatically admitted.
- Freshman candidates who graduate in the 26 to 50 percent of their high school graduating class and have an SAT score of 850 or greater; or an ACT score of 18 or greater; or a minimum 2.5 Grade Point Average will be automatically admitted.
- Freshmen candidates who rank in the lower half of their high school graduating class will require individual review. Review will include testing and assessments to determine college readiness. Following a meeting with a UHD Academic Advisor, an individualized success plan will be created for each student who is reviewed and admitted.
“UHD has earned a solid reputation as an opportunity university. According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, UHD ranks 37th out of 2,100 universities in the nation for graduating Hispanic and African American students. We are confident that these admission standards will enable our faculty, staff and community college partners a greater ability to provide access to a meaningful experience for college-ready students of all ages and backgrounds while also delivering graduates who are well-equipped to support the fast-growing economy of the greater Houston area,” commented Dr. William Flores, president of UHD, who has been advocating for admission standards since he assumed UHD’s presidency in 2009.
Dr. Flores stated that any freshman who is not admitted will be offered joint admissions to a local community college partner through UHD’s “Gator Guarantee.” Students participating in the Gator Guarantee will take developmental courses at a local community college, along with a minimum number of core credit courses. These students will have the benefit of access to UHD facilities and services (library, recreation facilities, email, etc.) while completing their developmental and core courses. They will then be eligible to enroll at UHD to complete their bachelor’s degree and will be eligible for a Gator Guarantee scholarship to support their studies.
The Situation Prompting Admission Standards
More than 30 percent (approximately 1,100) of UHD’s fall 2011 entering class of 3,200 students was comprised of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students. FTIC students are defined as students who enter a university or college directly from high school or with no previous regular enrollment at a college, university or community college. Approximately 60% of UHD FTIC students require developmental courses and many of these students become frustrated and drop out.
It is expected that the automatic admission standards will improve retention rates of FTIC students, increase graduation rates and decrease dropout rates. In addition, the standards will help to limit student indebtedness that often results from admitting students who are unprepared for the rigors of college and drop out, leaving them with significant debt.