Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Test-optional admissions expanded for Fall 2021

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
President Carlos Vargas speaks at a press conference outside Academic Hall on Sept. 9.
Photo by Jan Salmon

In the wake of standardized test dates getting canceled across the nation in the spring, Southeast President Carlos Vargas announced today at a press conference the university is expanding test-optional admissions and scholarships for new students in Fall 2021.

Southeast began offering test-optional scholarships in Fall 2019, but the minimum GPA to qualify was a 3.5. In Fall 2021, the number will be lowered to 2.75 to accommodate students who did not have the ability to take a standardized test.

Lenell Hahn, director of admissions, also announced some of Southeast’s largest scholarships are adding test-optional qualifications.

“We’ve added test-optional eligibility to apply for our prestigious and competitive $10,000 President’s Scholarship for students at a 3.9 GPA,” Hahn said. “We have nearly 20 scholarships that students can qualify for as test-optional.”

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success Deborah Below said Southeast evaluated the results of Fall 2018’s test-optional admissions over the summer.

“We found that students admitted in Fall 2018 were successful at a similar rate to all other students,” Below said. “Consequently, we prioritized further reallocation of financial resources to assist students who have achieved a high GPA in high school but may not have reached the required test scores for scholarships.”

In Fall 2016, Southeast announced a goal of 80% retention of first-time, full-time students, and Vargas said this year, the university may have met that goal. The previous record was in Fall 2019 at 75.3% retention.

“Although it’s not yet official, we are optimistic we will have reached a milestone in retention of first-year students this fall,” Vargas said. “As of the beginning of the semester, 80.1% of first-time, full-time students have enrolled in their second year.”

This semester's freshman class sits at 1,510 students, close to last year's amount. Among those students, there was a 24% increase in minority enrollment, with a 26% rise in African American students and a 67% rise in Hispanic students from last year's class.

More information on the university’s new test-optional scholarship policies can be found online.