Southern University of New Orleans to End Open Admissions Policy

For the past half century the New Orleans campus of Southern University has operated under an open admissions policy. The university was essentially a commuter school for black residents of New Orleans, many of whom were older, nontraditional college students.

Beginning in 2010, students seeking admission to the university must have achieved a 2.0 grade point average in high school, scored at least 20 on the American College Testing Program’s ACT college admission test (the mean score for blacks nationwide on the ACT is 17 on a scale of 1 to 36), and be ranked in the top 50 percent of their high school graduation class.

Students will also be required to take a core curriculum including English, mathematics, science, computer science, and a foreign language.

Officials of the state higher education system say that the new requirements are not designed to exclude students but simply to increase the chance that students admitted to the university will succeed.