Colleges withstand stricter admission standards

LSU freshmen attend professor Steve Pormarico’s Biology 1201 class on Oct. 4. (Advocate staff photo by Heather McClelland)

Tougher college admission standards so far have not led to the dramatic enrollment declines predicted by some higher education leaders as schools have shifted strategies and started targeting better prepared students.

Some of the Louisiana’s larger colleges have been able to fend off the doomsday enrollment scenarios even while traveling a tougher road, universities reported Wednesday.

A new state policy kicked in this fall prohibiting LSU, the University of New Orleans, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Louisiana Tech University from offering remedial courses to incoming freshmen who are not quite ready to take regular coursework.

That change will go into effect for the other four-year colleges in 2014.

Some schools have gotten creative to offset possible enrollment losses by employing outreach campaigns at high schools, offering online courses and expanding recruiting efforts.

Critics of Louisiana’s higher education system contend the state historically has been far too willing to funnel ill-prepared students into four-year schools — a trend, they say, contributed to the South’s second-lowest graduation rate.