Academic Policies and Procedures for Undergraduate Students


Admissions

Statement of Basic Academic Admissions Policies

Admission to University credit courses or degree candidacy at The Pennsylvania State University is governed by policies established by the University Faculty Senate. Although specific applications of these policies may vary from year to year, from location to location, and from program to program, all University admissions are governed by the following general policies:

  1. As an institution of higher education, The Pennsylvania State University is committed to making post-high school education available to all who possess a high school diploma or its equivalent without restriction as to age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

  2. The primary responsibility of the University is to residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Consequently, within limits expressed from time to time by the Board of Trustees of the University, preference shall be given to Pennsylvania residents in the various admission processes.

  3. In order to meet the variety of goals and objectives of the population, the spectrum of offerings is designed to enable persons with a variety of objectives--both degree and nondegree--to receive higher education. Although access to educational opportunities of the University is open to all, courses offered for credit are available to those holding a high school diploma or its equivalent. Policies governing admission to degree candidacy are established by the University Faculty Senate (with delegation of policies governing admissions to graduate programs to the graduate faculty of the University) under a general policy of offering admissions to those whose past academic performance indicates a reasonable probability of success.

  4. Undergraduate students are admitted to either baccalaureate degree candidacy or associate degree candidacy. To be admitted to degree candidacy, the individual must present an academic performance record that indicates a reasonable probability of success in his or her chosen program. In the case of first-year admission to undergraduate degree candidacy, performance is measured through the high school record, standardized tests, and such other information deemed appropriate by the Office of Admissions and such other academically relevant information deemed appropriate by the Office of Admissions and approved by the senate committee on admissions, records, scheduling and student aid, or as otherwise specified in this statement and related policies.

  5. Within the space available in particular programs and at particular locations, admission shall be offered preferentially to those whose performance record indicates the highest probability of success in the chosen program--with this process continuing until all available spaces are filled. Although exceptions to this policy may be made from time to time (for example, recipients of scholarships with restricting qualifications), these exceptions may be made only for students who meet at least the minimum admission and entrance requirements.

  6. If a college requires restrictions on its baccalaureate admissions, the priorities or quotas established must include provisions to consider qualified students in each of these groups:

    Admissions Group I--First-Year Admissions: Students who hold a high school diploma or equivalent, who present fewer than 18 credits of baccalaureate work (from The Pennsylvania State University or another accredited institution), who meet minimum college entrance requirements, and who meet minimum college admission standards, are considered in this group.

    Admissions Group II--Penn State Advanced Standing Admissions: Students who (1) request baccalaureate degree re-enrollment, presenting 18 or more credits; (2) request a change from The Pennsylvania State University associate degree to baccalaureate degree status, presenting 18 or more applicable credits; or (3) request a change from The Pennsylvania State University provisional degree to baccalaureate degree status, presenting 18 or more applicable credits, are considered in this group. In all Penn State advanced standing admissions, the student must have a GPA of at least 2.00 and must meet the minimum entrance and advanced standing requirements of the college.

    Admissions Group III--Other Advanced Standing Admissions: Students who (1) request changes from The Pennsylvania State University nondegree to baccalaureate degree status, presenting 18 or more applicable credits or (2) have not been students at The Pennsylvania State University and request baccalaureate degree status at The Pennsylvania State University, presenting 18 or more applicable credits. In all advanced standing admissions, the student must have a GPA of 2.00 and must meet the minimum entrance and advanced standing requirements of the college.

    Within these three groups, no special consideration will be given to any group; students will be admitted to the college on the basis of academic competition (e.g., SAT scores, grade point averages, grades in required courses in the college, and other evidence predictive of baccalaureate degree performance where available, valid, and reliable).

  7. To assure a proper educational mix of students and to further broaden the educational opportunities offered by the University, the University Faculty Senate and the University administration from time to time may authorize various specialized programs. These programs may permit students who do not meet the basic qualifications for admissions to degree candidacy to be admitted to such candidacy. These programs also may permit, in selected situations, exceptional students who have not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent to enroll in University credit courses. Such specialized programs may include up to 10 percent of the total admission group for the University in any one year and up to the maximum of 15 percent of the admissions to any geographic location of the University

  8. Within this general policy, the University Faculty Senate may impose certain educational requirements (Carnegie Units) that must be completed by an individual before being admitted to degree candidacy. Furthermore, colleges of the University, with the concurrence of the University Faculty Senate, may impose additional educational (Carnegie Unit) requirements that must be met for admission to those specific colleges.