Open admissions

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For similar terms with different meanings, see Open enrollment (disambiguation).

Open admissions (sometimes called open enrollment) is a type of unselective and non-competitive college admissions process in the United States in which the only criterion for entrance is a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.[1]


This form of "inclusive" admissions[2] is used by many public junior colleges and community colleges,[1] and differs from selective admission policies held by most private liberal arts colleges and research universities in the United States, which often take into account standardized test scores as well as other academic and character-related criteria.[2]


The open admissions concept was heavily promoted in the 1960s and 1970s as a way to reduce discrimination in college admissions and promote education of the underprivileged. The first major application was at the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY later applied this policy only to graduates from two-year Community Colleges, since they are better prepared for remedial education.[3]


Critics argue the open admissions forces an institution either to raise tuition to limit enrollment (which denies opportunities for some students), obtain increased subsidies from government or other sources (as happens with typical community college systems), or else results in lower standard and limit offering to lower cost.[citation needed]

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