P-4: ADMINISTRATIVE ENROLLMENT CONTROLS FOR UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS

 

Policy:

The University's goal is to adjust to shifting student interests and to accommodate all qualified students in the undergraduate majors of their choice. When limitations of space, faculty, or other resources make this goal unattainable, the college dean responsible for the major may request administrative enrollment controls.

 

Principles

Enrollment controls are established only when absolutely necessary and are based on the following principles: *

1. Enrollment controls apply to undergraduate majors and not to colleges.

2. Enrollment controls apply at the time of entry to the major -- normally at the beginning of the fifth semester -- and not at the time of admission to the University.

3. Enrollment controls are based on resource limitations in the major. In cases where an enrollment control is justified and approved, it will be expressed as a maximum number of students who can be accommodated entering the major in a given year.

4. Enrollment controls are approved on an annual basis and are subject to annual review.

5. Students with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 or higher, who meet the requirements for entry to a major having enrollment controls, and who are currently enrolled in the college of the major, shall not be denied entry to that major at the normal semester decision point (see 6b and 7b).

6. When an enrollment control is established, students are admitted to the major on the basis of academic merit as measured by their cumulative grade point average at The Pennsylvania State University. From the pool of applicants, students are admitted, starting with the highest grade-point average and moving down through the pool, until the approved maximum number is reached.

a. Although cumulative grade point average is the primary measure, certain courses may be designated as requirements for entry to the major and, where justified, a specific grade-point average may be required for these courses or a subset of them.

b. Normally, decisions about entry to major are based upon three semesters of course work, with a decision made early in the student's fourth semester. Where necessary due to fourth semester requirements or marginal competitive grade point averages, these decisions are conditional pending appropriate fourth semester performance.

7. Students who apply for entrance to a controlled major must at the time of application be enrolled in the college offering that major or in the Division of Undergraduate Studies and declared as heading toward the college. There are two possible exceptions to this and to 6b:

a. Advanced standing transfer students (from other universities) may be considered for admission directly to a controlled major if they have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade-point average and have met the requirements for entry to the major. Those eligible will be considered on an individual basis by the college dean.

b. Requests for change of major from other Penn State colleges directly to a controlled major may be considered if the student has at least a 3.00 cumulative grade-point average and has met the requirements for entry to the major. Those eligible will be considered on an individual basis by the college dean.

8. The college dean is permitted exceptions to the criteria specified in numbers 6 and 7 above under the policy recommended by the University Counsel and approved by the President in his memo dated April 18, 1984 to the Council of Academic Deans.

 

Procedure: Requests for Authorization of Enrollment Controls

Proposals for new enrollment controls or for renewal or revision of existing controls on enrollments in specific majors are to be submitted by the college deans through the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education by December 15 of each year. Except in emergency circumstances, any new or revised control becomes effective with the students admitted to the University in the summer session and fall semester following its approval. Proposals must include at least these details:

1. An explanation of earlier enrollment planning and resource activities aimed at balancing enrollment capacities with trends in student demand and how the shortfall in instructional capacity cannot be overcome.

2. A specification and justification of the maximum number of students who are to be granted entrance to the major.

The number must be justified with a documented analysis of constraints that limit instructional capacity. The document should also identify the resources--both physical and fiscal--which would have to be provided to avoid the limitation on numbers. The document should also explicitly address the implications of the proposed control for revenue flows of the University.

3. An estimate of the time period for which controls might be necessary.

Although all controls will be approved on a year-by-year basis, it is important to identify whether the control appears to be responding to a long-term trend in enrollments. There will also be cases in which a desired change in levels of enrollment might best be achieved through a series of incremental changes in size.

4. A detailed implementation plan for the enrollment control, including:

a. Detailed advising plan:

(1) How and when the students and advisers at all locations are notified of the enrollment controls.

(2) How and when students and advisers at all locations are informed about the potential impact of the controls, including, where appropriate, the actual cutoff point for the prior year and some estimate of the potential cutoff for their class.

(3) How and when students at all locations are advised concerning alternatives to the controlled major. Students expressing an initial interest in a major in which enrollment is controlled should be required to submit first, second, and third choice preferences of major during the freshman year. These preferences should not be limited to the college in which they are enrolled.

b. Description of how and when students in the college at all locations are to apply officially for entrance to the major; the application must include first, second, and third choices of major.

c. Description of how and when students at all locations are informed of decisions regarding their application for entrance to major.

d. Description of whether and how exceptions (advanced standing transfers, upper class change of majors from other Penn State colleges, etc.) will be considered and how appeals are adjudicated.

The proposal for an enrollment control is to be submitted by December 15. After appropriate review, the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University will reach a decision. The decision will generally be either to approve, approve with modification, or disapprove immediately or to defer a decision until the completion of the budget hearings. This latter approach will allow the Executive Vice President, when appropriate, to consider the alternative of providing increased funds to meet the problem. Thus, decisions will be made in two time periods--early in the calendar year and in April/May after the cycle of budget hearings.

Emergency controls may be requested if, within the next two years, an extremely severe imbalance will occur between student demand for entrance to a major and instructional capacity of the department, even after all possible short term reallocations of resources have been employed to bolster the department's instructional capacity. The following procedure for requesting emergency controls should be followed:

1. The college dean directs a request to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education that provides substantiating evidence that an emergency exists.

2. The college dean indicates how the emergency controls are to be implemented-how students are to be informed, how selections for entrance are to be made, and how students who are not selected for entrance are to be counseled and advised into alternative majors with available space.

 
Approved: Provost Richardson (2-14-85)
Effective: Summer 1985
Approved: ACUI (3-25-85)
Revised: UCEPP (10-19-94); ACUE (11-10-94); Provost Brighton (12-23-94)
Revised: Editorial (10-9-07)

 

Procedure: Selection Process for Majors with Approved Controls

Colleges that have received authorization to have administrative controls imposed on the number of students who may be granted entrance to a major each year, need to inform students about these controls and the procedures for gaining entrance to a controlled major. Procedures are necessary to assure that students are notified and advised on how they are to indicate their major preferences and choices to the college and on what alternative academic majors are available to them. Further, procedures are needed to assure that colleges are supported in their activities of selecting and informing students to be granted entrance to controlled majors and students to be denied entrance. The following procedures support this process.

1. Freshman Student Surveys of Major Preferences *

The top three major preferences for entering students are collected through the Educational Planning Survey administered by the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). The Survey is administered to freshmen and provisional-to-degree students in paid accept status at all locations and for all colleges, including those with and without enrollment controls. DUS staff enter major preferences on the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS) through screen path ARUEB.

The purpose of the survey is to record student preferences in order that they and their advisors can receive relevant information about those majors with controls and, as appropriate, to begin planning course work and assessing individual student prospects for gaining entrance to these majors or alternatives. It is desirable that colleges provide programmed experiences for freshman students, including information about majors and individual sessions with advisors or counselors, to assist them in their selection of major preferences.

2. Use of Students' Expressed Preferences for Controlled Majors

The population of freshman students expressing preferences for controlled majors should be reviewed in terms of numbers and grades. Given the distribution of students expressing preferences for a major and the expected characteristics of students who are likely to be selected for the controlled major, each student at all locations should be informed by the college regarding the forecasted level of performance that will be needed to gain entrance to these majors. All students expressing preferences for controlled majors are to be informed of alternative majors that they might explore. Notation of these student contacts by the college are to be entered on the ISIS using screen path ARUEA.

3. Designations of Students for Specific Spring Selection Pools

Students in the college with expressed preference for entrance to a controlled major are to be given a designation as to the specific Spring Selection Pool in which they are to be included. The designated pool should be such that the student at the time of selection would, under normal degree progress, be ready to begin junior level work in the major in the following Summer, Fall or Spring Semester of registration. Entering freshman normally are automatically designated as being included in the Selection Pool for the Spring of their sophomore year. Under exceptional circumstances, the college dean may designate alternative Spring Selection Pools for individual students. The college should notify freshmen in the college or in the Division of Undergraduate Studies who are headed for controlled majors of their specific assigned individual Spring Selection Pool designations.

Any other students such as advanced standing students or provisionals, who at the discretion of the college dean are to be considered eligible for entry to a controlled major on an exceptional basis, should also be given a specific Spring Selection Pool designation and be informed by the college at the time of entry to the college. These designations are to be entered into the ISIS using screen ARUEA. Any individual student entries are to be made by the college.

4. Student Applications for Entrance to Controlled Majors

Based on student designations of a particular Spring Selection Pool for the college, each student in the pool will be provided applications by the college at the beginning of the Spring Semester to indicate three choices for a major. A student's second or third choices may include other controlled or uncontrolled majors in the college or uncontrolled majors outside the college. Application choices for all students in the effective Pool are to be entered on ISIS no later than the end of the seventh week of the Spring Semester. The University Registrar will support the college by first providing mailing lists of students to be sent the applications and then by providing for batch entry of major choices by individual students. The college is responsible for entering choices on an individual student basis.

5. Distribution of Selection Pool Lists

The University Registrar will provide to each college approximately at the middle of the Spring Semester a listing of students from the eligible Pool who have applied for entrance to a controlled major. The listing is to show the student's three major application choices, the cumulative grade point average as of the end of the prior Fall (with number of credits it is based on), and the academic performance in courses specified in the major control policy. Students will be listed in order as specified by their cumulative grade point average.

6. Selection of Students from the Pool

Students in the Pool included on the listing from the University Registrar shall be reviewed as to their eligibility for selection by the college. Eligibility will be determined on the basis of published criteria. Ineligible students are to be deleted from the list. For the remaining eligible students, the college will start with the student with the highest grade point average and begin assigning students to controlled majors based on their expressed choices. In sequence, students will be assigned to their first choice of major unless that controlled major is filled. In that case, they will be assigned to their next open choice.

Assignments will continue down through the ranked students until all controlled majors are filled. Any student in the Selection Pool with a grade point average of at least 3.00 and who otherwise meets the specified course requirements is guaranteed selection for entrance to a controlled major.

7. Notification to Students Filing Applications

All students filing an application for a specific Spring Selection Pool are to be notified by the college of their status after selections have been made. Notification is to occur in the same Spring but prior to the beginning of advanced registration for the next Fall Semester. The notification will indicate whether the student was considered eligible for selection and, if so, whether the student was selected for a controlled major. Students actually selected are to be informed that they have been granted entrance to a specific major effective as of the next Summer, Fall or Spring Semester. For those students who have not yet met the course entrance requirements, but are currently enrolled in such courses, or who have marginally competitive grade point averages, the entrance will be conditional pending appropriate Spring Semester performance. The status of all students who applied is to be entered on ISIS and is accessible on screen path ARUES. The University Registrar will support the batch entry of data on the status of students and will provide mailing lists to support the notification process. The college is responsible for entering the major code in the regular ISIS data base for all students selected for entrance to majors.

8. Advising of Students Who are Declared Ineligible or Who Were Not Selected for Controlled Majors

For all students applying for the Spring Selection Pool who were declared ineligible or who were not selected for controlled majors, there must be an advising contact by the college. These contacts are to be noted on ISIS using screen path ARUEA. The college is responsible for any entries on an individual student basis.

9. Calendar

The Office of the University Registrar will publish annually a calendar with specific dates and events.

 
Approved: ACAS (2-14-86); Provost Richardson (2-20-86)
Revised: UCEPP (10-19-94); ACUE (11-10-94); Provost Brighton (12-23-94)
Revised: Editorial (10-9-07)

The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information. Penn State is an affirmative action, equal opportunity university.