Wayne State University Considering Tougher Admission Standards

Wayne State University in Detroit enrolls about 21,000 undergraduate students. Nearly one third of them are Black. Only 10 percent of the Black students who enrolled at Wayne State in 2004, earned a bachelor’s degree at the university by 2010.

Allan Gilmour, president of Wayne State, has proposed to toughen admission standards. He told the Detroit Free Press, “This can’t be an open-access university. If we are admitting people who we shouldn’t admit, that isn’t fair to them.”

Under the president’s proposal, students who apply to the university would be placed in one of three groups. The first group would be students with strong academic credentials who would be admitted. A second group would be required to complete a tuition-free, eight-week summer bridge program. These students would take courses in algebra, English, and study skills. Those that receive a passing grade in the summer program would be admitted to the university for the fall semester. The third group of applicants would be rejected for admission but would receive counseling about attending a community college or trade school.

The president estimates that about 5 percent of recently entering classes would not have been admitted under the new standards. Some in the campus community fear that Black and low-income students will make up a disproportionate share of the students who are denied admission under the new plan.

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