NIU halts freshman admission

By Suzanne Tomse

NIU discontinued freshman admissions Tuesday for the summer and fall semesters of 1987 due to a lack of resources for incoming and present NIU students.

“The budget and the space is not sufficient for 3,500 freshmen and 2,000 transfers,” said NIU President John LaTourette.

Because of increased applicants over the past four years, NIU restricted freshman admissions to 3,500 students. “We tried to restrict the enrollment to match our resources,” said Linda Barrett, associate provost.

Barrett said the university began admission restrictions at the beginning of the admissions process in the fall. Students were denied admission if they were below an ACT composite score of 17 and were in the lower half of their class.

Accepted students were those who ranked in the upper third of their high school class, who had an ACT composite score of 21 and who had completed their application by Feb. 2. However, many students who met the above criteria were denied admission because there was no space available. In addition, students who ranked in the upper half of their class and who had a composite score of 17 were not accepted.

“We are being responsible by trying to match our students with our resources. We are allowing in the best, qualified students,” Barrett said.

Applications have increased from 10,328 to 11,289 in one year, LaTourette said. In addition, the number of applicants who are ranked in the upper third of their class and who have an ACT of 22 has increased by 13 percent. The average ACT for NIU freshmen last fall was 22.3, which is above the national average of 18.9 and the Illinois average of 19.1.

“The good news is that NIU is becoming an institute of choice. On the other hand, we should provide more access to students,” LaTourette said.

About 540 qualified students have been denied admission so far and NIU administrators expect to turn away between 1,500 and 2,000 qualified students altogether, Barrett said.

“I deeply regret that significant budgetary constraints make it impossible for us to respond fully to the clear needs of our region and the aspirations of so many of its students,” said LaTourette.

A study by the Illinois Board of Education indicates that NIU is underfunded by $2.6 million, making it the second most underfunded public university in Illinois.

Although freshman admission has been closed, admission for minority and transfer students who have met the criteria will remain open, Barrett said. Admission for sponsored students, such as athletes or musicians, also will remain open because some students still need to sign their letter of intent, she added.

owever, these students must be sponsored by a department in order to have their criteria reviewed by admissions, said Director of Admissions Daniel Oborn.

Oborn said “no exceptions” will be made in regard to the closed freshman admissions. He said qualified students who are denied admission for the fall semester would need to re-apply if they want to enroll at NIU in the spring of 1988.

Oborn said he did not know if future enrollments will be affected by the decision to close enrollments for two semesters.

“It’s very hard to estimate,” he said. Oborn noted that freshman applicants for fall of 1988 would have to meet course-specific requirements in addition to having a 21 ACT and ranking in the upper third of their class. Additionally, freshman applicants will be required to send in their high school transcripts which currently are not required.

Oborn said students who are denied admission now might have an effect on enrollment in a year or two because they still have an opportunity to enroll at NIU as transfer students.