The University of Colorado plans to guarantee admission to Colorado high school students who are in the top 10 percent of their graduating class for next fall.
"This is really just a statement of 'How do you get into CU?' and it's really an issue of providing access and making sure that students know," said Michel Dahlin, CU's assistant vice president for academic affairs. "We thought that might encourage more students who might not otherwise apply to apply."
However, Dahlin said there are requirements beyond rank in high school. The basic college preparatory classes, such as four years of English, three years of math, two years of natural science, foreign language and world or U.S. history, will still be necessary.
"That's long been a requirement of all our campuses," Dahlin said.
Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs at CSU, said CU is making a guarantee that already exists.
"It's catchy to get people's attention and say they'll do this, but they're already doing it and so are we," Kuk said.
She said CSU does not plan to institute any similar admissions guarantee. CSU would already admit these students, and Kuk said she does not see the need for the guarantee.
Kuk said the change in the admissions process is that CU will admit the guaranteed students into their entire system, which includes the Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver campuses. Dahlin said CU plans to do this so all the guaranteed applicants will have a place at CU.
"I don't really think it's fair," said Brittany Sandberg, a sophomore environmental health major. "It's also kind of deceiving the student."
Sandberg said students could be upset if they applied to Boulder but ended up being admitted to one of the other campuses. However, Dahlin said CU does not plan to fill all its guaranteed spots on each campus, and that this is just a contingency plan.
"We don't anticipate that when students apply to one of our campuses we're going to be directing them to another," Dahlin said. "It's not likely to shut people out."
Similar programs already exist in California, Florida and Texas.
Dahlin said while some of these programs were created to increase diversity, CU's was not created with this intention.
"We don't have the same level of segregation in our high schools fortunately, so we would not design it with that in mind," Dahlin said.
Dahlin said this proposal has to be approved by the CU Board of Regents and by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. She said she has not heard any concern over this specific proposal, but this is one piece of a performance contract that must be reviewed.
Pending approval, the new admissions guarantee will go into effect in the fall.