BATON ROUGE, La. – Students seeking admission to public colleges and universities across Louisiana now have expanded pathways to achieve their dream of a degree or credential, thanks to action taken today by the Board of Regents. Expanding admission pathways to postsecondary institutions across the state is a critical strategy in Regents’ talent development efforts and directly supports the state’s Master Plan goal of doubling the number of credentials awarded annually by the year 2030.
Today’s board action creates a clear college admission pathway for high school students who have successfully earned an associate’s degree or earned credit in high school through dual enrollment, AP, IB, or CLEP – known as early college programs. Regents, in partnership with the state’s systems and public colleges and universities, has been aggressively promoting such programs as part of its strategy to increase educational attainment in Louisiana. National studies show students who earn college credit while still in high school are more likely to attend a postsecondary institution and complete a degree or earn a credential of value.
“This policy expansion provides more opportunities for students to enter and complete college at every level without lowering standards,” said Regents Chair Collis Temple, III. “Increased prosperity happens when we ensure every student has access to a credential of value, no matter what their aspiration because the jobs of today and tomorrow require more than just a high school diploma.”
“We are proud to adopt this first-in-the-nation approach to expanding college admission opportunities,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “As we advance the practice of blurring the lines between high school and college for students, it makes sense to acknowledge successful completion of advanced coursework in college admission decisions. Getting more college to kids and kids to college is a priority in Louisiana because we know education is the way forward. I am grateful to our board and higher education leaders for supporting this action.”
The Board of Regents sets the minimum admission standards for Louisiana’s public colleges and universities. Those standards require students to complete a set of core academic courses in high school with a certain grade point average or earn a certain ACT score for college admissions. Under the new guidelines, listed below, students who complete that core now have a third pathway option for college admission – earning of an associate’s degree or completion of the required number of early college academic credits with the corresponding GPA for their institution of choice.
“It is clear that the rapid advancement of technology has expedited the arrival of the future of work, and employers are looking for a more skilled and educated employee. For Louisiana to compete in the global economy, we must maximize access for all Louisianians—especially those from rural, diverse or low socioeconomic backgrounds,” Dr. Jim Henderson, University of Louisiana System President, said. “The Universities of Louisiana are committed to giving more individuals access to our robust educational experiences designed to develop the core competencies necessary for life and career success.”
The updated policy also introduces a new admissions category for HBCU institutions, to align with the HBCU designation approved by Regents in June 2020.
“As the only HBCU system in the country, the Southern University System recognizes its longstanding and unique role in educating underrepresented and underserved students in the state,” said Southern System President Dennis J. Shields. “Regents’ continued support and acknowledgment of Louisiana’s HBCUs through expansion of admissions pathways demonstrates its commitment to increased attainment and equity in opportunity. We stand with the board in these endeavors, knowing we are positively impacting the lives of the students we serve as well as the overall economic health of our state.”
While the state’s community colleges continue to serve in the important role of open admission institutions. Regents’ policy expansions include two changes that impact the students they enroll. First, admissions pathways have been expanded for students who earn alternative high school credentials through HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) or NRS (National Reporting System) scores. The policy also creates one transfer expansion with the addition of a technical associate’s degree to the list of credentials a student can use to begin their journey towards a bachelor’s degree or beyond. This update is intended to encourage transfer partnerships between the state’s community colleges and its universities.
“The Board of Regents’ new policy aligns to the Master Plan and creates a clear path for contributions to that goal by each public institution of higher education,” said Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Monty Sullivan. “This first step focuses on all students and most notably calls out adult students as being a critically important population for Louisiana. The second phase of this policy work will require continued compromise by all parties working in the best interest of Louisiana and her people.”
Regents’ expanded admissions policy will take effect in Fall 2023, making the expanded policies available to students applying for college admission this academic year. The updated policy can be found here: www.laregents.edu/admissions
“This policy creates new options for students to find their own personal door to higher education by recognizing and validating early college-going through dual enrollment,” said Amy Williams, Executive Director of the National Alliance Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). “As the national advocate for the advancement of quality college courses for high school students, NACEP applauds the Louisiana Board of Regents’ multifaceted work to grow access and increase recognition of dual enrollment opportunities for students.”
“I commend Commissioner Reed and the Louisiana Board of Regents for their proactive push to provide new and innovative opportunities for students to attend and complete college,” said State Higher Education Executives Officers (SHEEO) President Rob Anderson. “We know the importance of assessing and recognizing all types of learning that occur, and Louisiana’s willingness to expand their model to better serve students is a national exemplar in our push to provide all deserving students an opportunity to pursue a college degree.”
“There’s no better method of proving a student is ready to succeed in college courses than actually succeeding in college courses,” said Alex Perry, Coordinator of the College in High School Alliance. “The Louisiana Board of Regents’ move to expand admission to Louisiana public universities to include early college credit is a bold step in acknowledging the reality that many students are thriving in college courses before they even receive their high school diploma. As Louisiana works to expand early college credit opportunities, I’m excited to see how this move positively impacts those students not just in their college in high school experiences, but in their onward postsecondary studies too.”