The implications of raising admission standards at a large public institution

Reine T Sarmiento, Fordham University


In 2009, the American Presidents University (APU) raised the admissions standards at its senior colleges with the intent to increase graduation rates. The decision drew mixed opinions because the institution, located in Metropolis, had a long reputation of providing educational opportunities to underserved populations. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an increase in admission standards in 2009 contradicted APU’s core mission to educate minority and underserved populations. This quantitative study was an examination of the 2009 freshman cohort and the four- and five-year graduation rates of the senior colleges, compared to the 2008 freshman cohort. The ethnicities of both cohorts were examined. Critical race theory formed the conceptual framework to explain how APU made decisions without the consideration of minorities. The study findings showed that admission standards and graduation rates were related. Asian populations had the highest graduation rates. Pierce College, having no or low admission standards, had the lowest graduation rates. Washington College enrolled a majority of the Blacks and Hispanics in Metropolis, but still had effective graduation rates in relation to the other APU colleges. The key to addressing this issue is to build pathways for students from high school to the senior college, as well as to provide viable alternative routes via the community college.

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Recommended Citation

Sarmiento, Reine T, "The implications of raising admission standards at a large public institution" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10154266.