KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As soon as Fall 2024, Tennessee’s top high school students may have an easier time getting admitted into the University of Tennessee according to proposal documents obtained by WATE.
The proposal was drafted by the University of Tennessee System and is scheduled to be voted on by UT’s Board of Trustees on September 8. If approved, the policy would guarantee Tennessee high school students who meet certain criteria admission to each of its undergraduate campuses.
According to the proposal documents, more than a quarter of Tennessee’s public high school students who graduated with a 3.75 GPA or higher chose to go out of state for college.
“By offering automatic admission to its top high school graduates, prospective students will know earlier in the College selection process that there is a place for them at their state’s top public university system. They will only be an application away from being admitted,” the proposal says.
If approved by the Board of Trustees, any high school student in the state would be guaranteed admission if they meet any of the following criteria:
- Finish in the top 10% of their high school’s graduating class
- Achieve a 4.0 or higher GPA
- Achieve a 3.2 or higher GPA with an ACT composite score of 23 or higher (or an SAT score of 1130-1150 or higher.)
The proposal does specify that admission means an offer of undergraduate admission to the UT campus the qualified applicant has applied to, but not guaranteed acceptance into a particular college, school, department, major, or program. Additionally, applicants will still need to submit their ACT or SAT test scores and make a minimum of a 19 on the ACT in the Math and English sections.
The proposal is slated to be effective immediately, if approved, for the current, Fall 2024 admissions cycle.
According to the documents, if the proposal is approved, the UT system would join public institutions in at least a dozen other states that offer guaranteed admissions to eligible students.
While the proposal suggests that it would make an estimated 6,400 prospective students eligible for guaranteed admission, it does not address how the university will need to compensate to prevent current issues, such as students’ struggles to find housing and parking, from becoming worse.
The proposal documents say 15,939 Tennessee high school graduates had an ACT composite score of 23 or higher. Although it is highly unlikely that every student with a qualifying ACT score would attend the University of Tennessee, Fall 2023 was a record-breaking semester for the university’s enrollment, with 36,000 students enrolled. Only 6,700 of those were freshmen living on campus.
UT’s affordability and quality are features that have put the University on national Best College rankings, and efforts have been underway to add more student housing to the area. Last month, a $233 million loan closed for the construction of a 600 unit “Hub Knoxville” complex.