Admissions Selectivity for Missouri's Public Universities
This report discusses a recent study commissioned by the Office of Postsecondary Policy, located within the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, to evaluate the relevance and efficacy of the department’s admissions selectivity policy. A mixed methods research design was employed to assess the policy’s functionality, determine which pre-college characteristics are the strongest indicators of student success, and evaluate how the administration of state-sponsored aid factors into the equation. A review of the data determined that earlier deviations from the policy were caused by differential interpretations of the selectivity guidelines, but more recent changes were made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In practice, the primary performance metrics being used to gauge a student’s academic potential are high school grades and SAT/ACT scores. Based on the Fall 2014 cohort’s performance data, high school GPA as a single indicator was found to offer a greater predictive value than ACT Composite Scores, with respect to graduation rates. Additionally, the receipt of first-year state aid and the amount of aid received demonstrated some predictive value, suggesting that state aid plays a role in students' ability to persist and graduate.