Utah State University Announces New Admissions Policy to Significantly Expand College Access

Beth Dumbauld

Utah’s public land-grant university introduces a new three-course Earned Admission pathway to guarantee entrance to high school graduates

LOGAN, UT (September 23, 2020) -- Utah State University (USU), the only public land-grant university in Utah and one of the state’s largest universities, today announced the launch of an ambitious new admissions policy that will expand college access through providing additional academic support for students who do not meet basic admissions requirements. Through a partnership with StraighterLine, the Earned Admission program will guarantee entrance to USU for new freshmen who complete a sequence of three affordable, self-paced courses to develop foundational skills for success in college.

“In this moment of profound economic uncertainty for the country, expanding college access is an economic imperative for our state and an essential component of our public land-grant mission,” said Janet Anderson, associate vice president of academic and instructional services at Utah State University. “This bold new approach to admissions is about closing gaps in academic preparation and helping more high school graduates develop the essential academic skills they need to thrive in higher education.”

A 2018 report from policy think tank Third Way found that academic preparation through rigorous high school coursework is one of the strongest predictors of college completion, but every year, over one million students start college underprepared for the rigor of college-level learning and require remediation. Only 35% of students who take remedial coursework after starting at a four-year college or university end up completing a bachelor’s degree in six years, compared to 56% of students who begin by taking college-level coursework.

Earned Admission provides an alternative pathway to college access through self-paced, faculty-reviewed courses in English, math and study skills designed to provide high school graduates with foundational skills to succeed in college. Students can take the courses, which are priced at $125 a month, at any time.

USU will offer guaranteed admission for the spring 2021 semester to all students who complete the courses by December 1, 2020. The university is currently piloting the program with incoming freshmen, with plans to expand to other groups who may have been affected by the pandemic, such as stop-outs and working adults.

“Mastery of a few key academic skills can be the deciding factor for whether or not incoming students are prepared for a successful college start. This work is about boosting access by helping to identify and close those gaps,” said Burck Smith, StraighterLine’s founder and CEO. “Utah State has an ambitious vision for dramatically expanding college access to more residents of Utah, and this new approach reflects its deep commitment to increasing college access and success.”

Students interested in learning about Earned Admission can visit https://www.usu.edu/admissions/apply/earned-admission.

About Utah State:

Since its founding in 1888, Utah State University has evolved from a small-town college tucked away in the Northern Utah mountains to a thriving, multi-campus research university respected around the world. Students can choose from an array of academic and social opportunities at a university known throughout the world for its intellectual and technological leadership.

About StraighterLine:

StraighterLine is a student success company and the category creator for providing scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials. The StraighterLine platform supports over 35,000 new students a year, including directly through the straighterline.com website as well as through the company’s growing network of university and employer relationships.

Visit https://www.straighterline.com or https://partners.straighterline.com for more information.

Contact:
Janet Anderson, USU Assistant Vice Provost
[email protected]

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