Open Enrollment Ends at Texas Southern University, But the Number of New Freshmen Is on the Rise

In the past any student with a high school diploma or a GED certificate could gain admission to Texas Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Houston. This open admissions policy was a key factor in Texas Southern’s dismally low graduation rate of 11 percent. Officials at the university report that many students who were not qualified for college-level work apparently enrolled at Texas Southern under open admissions and with benefit of federal financial assistance, but they did little or no work toward a degree.

New president John M. Rudley ended open admissions this fall. Now applicants must be in the top 25 percent of their high school class or have maintained a 2.0 grade point average while in high school. Students not meeting these criteria could still enroll if they successfully complete a summer preparatory program.

To the surprise of many observers, the end of open admissions resulted in an increase in freshman enrollments this fall. There are 1,347 freshman students this year, up 6.4 percent from a year ago.