Crain’s Detroit Business
Sept. 19, 2023
Ten of Michigan’s public universities have banded together to broadly market a 3.0 grade point average as a uniform standard for admission to those institutions.
The Michigan Assured Admission Pact is aimed at demystifying the public school admissions process, helping reduce anxiety for students during it and boosting enrollment, leaders said.
Participating institutions will work together to promote the uniform standard to high school students, parents, secondary school partners and college access organizations in Michigan. They include:
- Central Michigan University
- Eastern Michigan University
- Ferris State University
- Lake Superior State University
- Northern Michigan University
- Oakland University
- Saginaw Valley State University
- University of Michigan-Flint
- University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Wayne State University
“The pledge is about becoming more transparent about how we make admission decisions … (and) getting the message out to the students that they are admissible, and we want them to enroll at our schools,” said Joe Vainner, director of admissions at UM-Flint, who co-led the initiative along with the directors of admissions at OU and NMU. “We believe they can be successful and want to give them the opportunity to do so.”
None of the participating universities lowered their admission criteria to join the group, he said. The 3.0 was a line that all participating universities could agree on, and schools that admit students with a GPA below a 3.0 will continue to do so.
Despite the fact that the schools compete on admissions, increased enrollment is the collective goal, leaders said.
The number of high school graduates in Michigan is expected to decline by 11.4% from 2022 to 2037, the Michigan Association of State Universities said in a news release, citing numbers from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
While many states are just now approaching the so-called “enrollment cliff,” the number of high school graduates in Michigan has been flat or declining since 2008, when it peaked at more than 123,000, the MASU said. By 2037, the number is projected to decrease by nearly 40,000 graduates.
At the same time, the number of Michigan high school graduates pursuing higher education is also on the decline, the association said, noting the percentage of high school graduates going on to college has declined every year from 65.8% in 2013 to 52.8% in 2022.
Given the projections of fewer high school graduates in Michigan, “The way you get more students is by increasing enrollment from that existing pool,” Vainner said.
With initiatives like the Michigan Assured Admission Pact and the new Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which will pay a third or more of tuition costs for qualified students at the state’s public universities, a strong economy and very strong labor market need for more workers with four-year degrees and above, all those messages should lead to a turnaround in enrollment, said Daniel Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities.
“Thanks to our state policy leaders, paying for a college education just got much more affordable in the state of Michigan,” he said. “We want to amplify that good news by sending a message to high school seniors that you can be assured admission to all the participating public universities with a … 3.0 or higher.”
That assurance “is going to take a lot of the stress out of the process for students, demystify the process and increase awareness of high quality education in Michigan and the dramatic improvement in affordability of a public university education in Michigan,” Hurley said.