Procedures Regarding Limited Admission to an Undergraduate Program

Original Policy Source APPM Section III Item 10
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 04-02-1992
Last Review Date 09-08-2016
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics

Purpose: This information is intended to set forth the basic procedures by which a department, school, or college (hereafter referred to as "the program") may seek and gain approval to limit the admission of students. This process involves attention to both curricular and resource matters. The guidelines are intended to insure that all affected campus offices, interested students, high schools, and community college counselors have adequate notice and sufficient time to prepare for the change in the admission policies of an NIU program.

A.  General Guideline

  1. The resource implications for the limited admission program should be addressed primarily by the dean of the college in which the program seeking the limit is offered and the provost. The particular non-resource implementation issues of limited admissions should be processed through the normal curricular review process.
  2. Unless otherwise mandated by law, accrediting agency, or other external authority, a request to limit admissions must be primarily based upon limitations in the requesting program's resources.
  3. The Office of the Provost, in collaboration with the Council of Deans, will provide guidelines for the data to be supplied by those programs requesting limited admissions. The same data shall be required for either a new application or a renewal of limited admissions status.
  4. Any limited admissions program should be publicized by the program and the Offices of Admissions and Community College Relations at least six months prior to implementation.
  5. The program limiting admissions must assume responsibility for any additional processing required for the implementation. Additional resources needed should be addressed by the dean and provost.
  6. The program applying for limited admissions must consult the Directors of Admissions, Registration and Records, and the Coordinator of Community College Relations early in the process to identify possible implementation problems.
  7. Once a limited admissions policy is implemented, it applies to all students seeking admission to the program regardless of which Undergraduate Catalog is being used to satisfy other requirements.|
  8. Implementation of limited admissions shall commence at the beginning of the first term (spring, summer, or fall) which is at least six months after approval by the Baccalaureate Council. The term in which limited admissions is to be implemented will be stated in the Baccalaureate Council minutes.

B.  The Process for Approval

  1. The approval process begins with the program submitting a request and justification for limited admissions to the dean of its college.
  2. The dean shall discuss with the provost the resource implications of the application. At the conclusion of the dean/provost discussions, the provost shall in a timely manner forward a letter of recommendation to the dean indicating concurrence or nonconcurrence with the request for limited admissions.
  3. Following the dean's and provost's consideration of resource issues, the program seeking to limit admissions shall prepare a proposal to be reviewed through the normal curricular approval process.
  4. The Baccalaureate Council approves all proposals for establishing and maintaining limited admission/limited retention policies.  Any proposal by a college/department seeking approval or re-approval of limited admission program policies must provide the BC a detailed rationale justifying such approval or re-approval, and the rationale must accompany the proposal.

C.  The Limited Admission Proposal

      1.  The proposal should include statements from the dean of the college which offers the program and the
           provost supporting or opposing limited admissions on the basis of resources.
      2.  The proposal should describe how limited admissions would be implemented with explanation sufficient to
           justify the particular procedure chosen to implement the policy.
           a. Student preparedness:  Many colleges/departments use admission standards to ensure students are
           prepared for advanced coursework.  If student preparedness plays a role in justifying limited admission
           policies, please address the following questions.                                                                       
               1. How has the college/department defined prepared students?
               2. What proxy (e.g. GPA, course completion, C or better, etc.) will be used to identify prepared
               3. What efforts have the college/department made to validate the proxy used?
               4. What alternative proxies were considered and rejected?
          b.  Resources:  Many colleges/departments do not have sufficient resources to accommodate all students
               who may wish to matriculate in their majors or programs.  If resources justify limited admission policies,
               please address the following questions.
               1. Which resources are most lacking?
               2. How did the college/department identify the desirable level of resource utilization (e.g. class size,
                   student teaching limitations, internship availability, etc.)?
               3. What options to more efficiently use resources other than limiting admission were considered?
          c.  Accreditation issues:  Achieving and maintaining professional accreditation is critical to many NIU
               programs.  When accreditation standards play a role in justifying limited admission policies, please
               address  the following questions.
               1.  What are the relevant accreditation standards?
               2.  How do the particular limited admission policies chosen meet accreditation standards?
               3.  What other policies were considered?
          d.  Adverse impact on students:  When designing limited admission policies, colleges/departments must
               consider the adverse effect on students and other units of the university. The following questions must
               be addressed by all colleges/departments seeking approval/re-approval of limited admission policies.
               1.  Approximately how many students will be adversely affected?
               2.  To which colleges/programs/majors are adversely affected students likely to migrate?  Explain the
                    efforts that have been made to inform, consult, and involve those colleges/programs/majors.
               3.  At what key points (e.g. courses, semesters, etc.) will students be identified as at-risk for admission
                    or retention, and what efforts will be made to advise potentially affected students at such key stages?
               4.  What efforts will be made to assist adversely affected students in identifying and evaluating possible
      3. The proposal must include a statement of limited admissions to be inserted in the Undergraduate Catalog.
          The statement must include:
          a. A description of the methods to limit admission.
          b. Provisions for transfer students.
          c. When applicable, the deadline for application and the date for notification to the student.         

D.  Renewal of Limited Admissions

Justification for a program continuing its limited admissions policy shall be addressed in the year prior to the normal eight-year program review.  As with an initial application, the college/department will need to address the issues in "Section III, Item C. "The Limited Admission Proposal" above. Continuation or modification to the limited admissions procedure is recorded in the college curriculum committee minutes.

E.  Methods Used to Implement Limited Admissions

Subject to the normal curricular review process, the following methods may be used to implement limited admissions:

       1.  Tool Courses: A restricted program may establish a set of pre-major tool courses in which the student's
            performance will form the basis for admission to the program. A tool course package should be designed so
            that the student can complete the package by the end of the sophomore year and know whether admission
            to the program has been achieved.
       2.  Grade Point Average: A minimum overall GPA may be required for admission to a program. Once
            admitted, the minimum GPA required for retention in the program may not exceed the GPA required by the
            university unless a higher GPA is necessary to meet professional requirements.
       3.  Admissions Exam: An admissions exam may be administered to students seeking admission to a program
            with a minimum passing or acceptable score established. Such a test should not be used as the only method
            for admission to a program.
       4.  Maximum Number of Students: A program may establish a maximum number of students to be admitted
            from the pool of applicants during an academic year.
       5.  Other Methods: Auditions, portfolios, recommendations, work experience, or other methods determined by
            the program, may be used for limiting admissions. Combinations of the several methods may be employed
            by a program.

Approved by Undergraduate Coordinating Council, April 2, 1992 
Minor editorial change 8/20/03 
Revised December 10, 2008
Revisions Approved by Undergraduate Coordinating Council, February 5, 2009
Approved by the Baccalaureate Council on September 8, 2016.

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