System Procedure 3.4.1 Undergraduate Admissions

System Procedures
Chapter 3 - Educational Policies

Click here for a PDF copy of this procedure.

for Board Policy 3.4

Part 1. Purpose
To establish requirements for the consistent administration of admissions policies at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Part 2. Definitions

Academic Program
A cohesive arrangement of college-level credit courses and experiences designed to accomplish predetermined objectives leading to the awarding of a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Ability to Benefit
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 to partially restore what is known as the “ability to benefit (ATB) alternatives.” The law went into effect December 16, 2014, and allows for a student who did not receive a high school diploma or its equivalent, or who did not complete a secondary school education in a homeschool setting, to be eligible for Title IV financial aid meeting a combination of ATB alternatives and enrollment in an eligible career pathways program.

Eligible career pathways program
Any Title IV Higher Education Act eligible program offered at a postsecondary institution in which a student is enrolled in the postsecondary program to earn at least one recognized postsecondary credential and participates in an adult education component that enables the student to attain a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent. The career pathways program must include: accelerated programming that is aligned to a specific occupation or occupation clusters; a counseling and supportive service component; alignment with the education and skill needs of the state or regional economy; and the ability to prepare students to be successful in any of a full range of secondary or postsecondary education options, including registered apprenticeships.

International student
A student who is required to be registered under the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Part 3. Admissions Requirements

Subpart A. Colleges
Colleges are committed to open admissions with the minimum requirement of a high school diploma, a standard adult high school diploma, or an equivalent high school diploma certificate, such as General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  1. A person who does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent and intends to enroll in an eligible career pathways program may be admitted if that person demonstrates passing scores on the approved Ability to Benefit (ATB) test.
  2. A person who does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent may be admitted at the discretion of the college according to locally determined admissions requirements.
Admission to a college does not guarantee that a student is allowed to enroll in college-level courses as provided for in System Procedure 3.3.1 Assessment for Course Placement. Admitted students may enroll in courses that do not have a reading, writing, or mathematics placement score or prerequisite requirement.


Subpart B. Universities
Admission to universities must be based on the achievement of a high school diploma, a standard adult high school diploma, or an equivalent high school diploma certificate and achievement of preparation standards.

  1. New first-year students
    1. Required Academic Core. To be considered for admission to a university as a new first-year student, students must have completed courses determined to be college preparatory in the following pattern or which provide mastery of equivalent competencies in grades 9-12. The required academic core consists of:
      1. 4 years of English (including composition, literature, and speech)
      2. 3 years of mathematics (2 years of algebra, of which one is intermediate or advanced algebra, and 1 year of geometry)
      3. 3 years of science (at least 1 year each of a biological and physical science in which all courses include significant laboratory experience)
      4. 3 years of social studies (including 1 year each of geography and U.S. history)
      5. 2 years of a single world language (including non-English native languages and American Sign Language)
      6. One year of arts (visual arts and the performing arts of theater, music, dance, and media arts)
    2. Academic Performance Requirement. In addition to the core subject area requirements, new first-year students shall meet at least one of the following academic performance requirements:
      1. a composite score on the ACT or the SAT at or above the 50th percentile on the national norms, or
      2. a rank in their high school graduating class in the top 50%. If a student’s high school does not rank graduates, an unweighted grade point average of at least 3.0 shall be deemed to meet the class rank requirement.
    Individual universities may set higher test score, grade point average, or class rank requirements.

    When deciding whether to admit an individual who attended a Minnesota high school and completed the high school Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), universities must consider the individual’s scores on the MCA in addition to other factors determined relevant by the university.

  2. Transfer students
    Students transferring to a university from any other college or university must have a level of academic achievement that is at least equal to the standard required for good academic standing at the receiving university. In addition, students who have not completed the preparation requirements in high school may be admitted according to the following:
    1. Students who have completed an Associate in Arts degree from a Minnesota community college must be judged to have met all preparation requirements.
    2. Students who have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum must be judged to have met all preparation requirements.
    3. Students who wish to transfer from a two-year or four-year college or university shall have completed sufficient college or university credits that are judged by the receiving university to have satisfied all high school preparation deficiencies.
    4. Students whose college or university credits were completed before implementation of the preparation requirements (1994) must be reviewed individually at each university on the basis of university guidelines consistent with its mission.
  3. Exceptions
    Individual universities may make exceptions to the requirement set forth in Subpart B, 1 and 2, above with the following expectations:
    1. New first-year students who are admitted with deficiencies must be advised to make up those deficiencies during their first year of enrollment.
    2. Other students with deficiencies must be required to make up the deficiency within the first year of enrollment. (Standard practice equates two years of high school world language instruction with one year of college-level world language instruction.)
    3. Universities shall document the reasons for granting exceptions and maintain adequate records to determine the academic success of students admitted under these exceptions.
  4. Out-of-state students
    The high school preparation requirements and exceptions for universities must apply to students who have graduated from high schools whose residency is not in Minnesota.

Part 4. Application Form and Fee

Subpart A. Fee Each college and university may charge an admission application fee as provided in Board Policy 5.11.

  1. Colleges and universities that charge an admission application fee may review a prospective student's application pending payment of the application fee, but shall not communicate an admission decision to the applicant until the fee has been paid or waived.
  2. A college or university shall not charge an application fee to a student who has previously been admitted to that institution as a candidate for a certificate, diploma, or degree.

Subpart B. Application form
The system office, in consultation with the colleges and universities, shall maintain the universal Minnesota State admission application form.

  1. The online application form and process must be accessible on the system website for use by all Colleges and universities.
  2. Colleges and universities may accept applications from commercial online services, but all such applications must be identical in format and content to the Minnesota State online application form.
  3. The system office shall make the Minnesota State application available in paper form. Colleges and universities may use a paper form customized with their own branding, but it must have the same format and content as the Minnesota State application.
  4. Colleges and universities may use alternative forms for registration/enrollment of students in limited enrollment, customized training courses. These forms must comply with format guidelines provided by the system office and with applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.

Part 5. International Students

Subpart A. Academic preparation and English proficiency

  1. International students will be eligible for admission if their academic preparation is judged equivalent to the admission requirements of the institution to which they are applying.
  2. International students may be required to submit high school or other transcripts to an evaluation service designated by the admitting college or university. Cost of the evaluation must be borne by the student.
  3. International students who are not native speakers of English shall demonstrate proficiency in English on a standardized test selected by the admitting college or university. An international student may be admitted to attend a college or university intensive English as a second language program if the student attains a score of 400 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or its equivalent. An international student may be admitted as a regular student if the student attains a score of 500 on the TOEFL or its equivalent.

Subpart B. Economic self-sufficiency

  1. Prior to being admitted to a college or university, an international student shall demonstrate economic self-sufficiency to be able to afford the costs of tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and any other costs necessary for the completion of the academic year.
  2. International students shall purchase the system-approved student health insurance, except those students whose sponsoring agency or government certifies that the student is covered under a plan provided by the sponsoring agency or government.

Part 6. Documentation of Admission Eligibility

Subpart A. Individual evaluation
Applicants may be required to document admission eligibility. Those who are unable to present transcripts or other traditional documentation of educational preparation must be individually evaluated on the basis of guidelines consistent with the institution's identity and mission.

Subpart B. English Language Competency
As a condition of admission, applicants whose primary language is not English, and applicants who have graduated from a high school where the language of instruction is other than English, may be required to demonstrate English language competency using the Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA) or an equivalent instrument.

Subpart C. High School Students
High school students shall provide documentation of admissions eligibility as determined by the college or university. High school students admitted to a college or university to participate in the post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO) program and/or PSEO concurrent enrollment shall adhere to the admissions and documentation requirements in Board Policy 3.5 and System Procedure 3.5.1.

Subpart D. Approved Ability to Benefit test
The ACCUPLACER is the approved Ability to Benefit (ATB) test referred to in Part 3, Subpart A. The approved passing scores on this test are as follows: Reading Comprehension (55), Sentence Skills (60), and Arithmetic (34). A student must attain passing scores on all three tests in order to be admitted under the provision in Part 3, Subpart A. At the time of admission into a college and into an eligible career pathways program, students admitted under this provision must be informed in writing that they may apply and possibly qualify for federal financial aid.

Part 7. Admission to an Academic or Career Program
The admissions standards in Part 2 apply only to admission to a college or university. Colleges and universities may develop a standard or standards for admission into a specific academic or career program that exceed or are in addition to the requirements for admission to the college or university.

Part 8. Students Suspended from Other Institutions

Subpart A. Students suspended for academic reasons
Students on academic suspension from a Minnesota State college or university must not be admitted to another college or university during the term of that suspension unless they demonstrate potential for being successful in the particular program to which they apply.

Subpart B. Students suspended for disciplinary reasons
Students who have been suspended or expelled for disciplinary reasons from any postsecondary institution may be denied admission to a Minnesota State college or university.

Part 9. Financial holds
Colleges and universities may admit a student who has a financial hold at another college or university of Minnesota State but shall not allow the student to enroll in courses until the financial hold has been removed. Exceptions will be made for students enrolling in non-credit and closed-credit courses offered through Continuing Education and Customized Training (CECT).

Part 10. Visiting Student Status

Subpart A. Students not admitted to a college or university
A college or university may allow an individual who is not currently admitted as a student at any college or university to enroll for the maximum number of credits allowed by its enrollment policy in any semester without submitting an application for admission.

Subpart B. Students admitted to a system college or university
A college or university shall allow a student who is currently admitted at another college or university to enroll as a visiting student. A visiting student is not required to submit an application for admission, and is not a candidate for a degree, diploma, or certificate at the college or university attended in visiting student status. A visiting student may enroll for the maximum number of credits allowed by each college’s or university’s enrollment policy, provided that the student’s total number of enrolled credits at all colleges and universities of Minnesota State does not exceed 22 in any semester.

Subpart C. Visiting student provisions

  1. Visiting students shall satisfy course prerequisites of the college or university where a course will be taken.
  2. Universities may restrict enrollment in visiting student status to students who have earned 24 Minnesota Transfer Curriculum credits with at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and at least a 67% completion rate at a college or university of Minnesota State.
  3. Colleges and universities may deny enrollment as a visiting student to any student who has an enrollment hold due to conduct or academic progress reasons at any college or university. A visiting student who has an enrollment hold due to conduct or academic progress reasons at the visiting institution shall complete the appropriate appeals process at the college or university where the hold is located.
  4. Colleges and universities shall deny enrollment as a visiting student to any student who has an enrollment hold due to outstanding financial obligations at any other college or university.
  5. Each college and university shall establish a registration window that provides a reasonable opportunity for visiting students to register for courses.
  6. Colleges and universities may limit enrollment of visiting students in courses that historically have enrollment requests exceeding available seats.

Part 11. Appeals
Each college and university shall establish an appeals process that may be used by individuals denied admission to their college or university or denied enrollment as a visiting student. Appeals for denial of admission or enrollment based on financial holds must not be accepted.

Related Documents:

To view any of the following related statutes, go to the Revisor's Office website. You can conduct a search from this site by typing in the statute number.
  • Stat. 136F.302 Regulating the Assignment of Students to Remedial Courses
To view related federal statutes, go to the U.S. Government Publishing Office site ( You can conduct a search from this site by typing in the statute number
  • 20 U.S.C. 1091 § 484 Student Eligibility

System Procedure History:

Date of Adoption: 08/13/06
Date of Implementation: 08/13/06
Date of Last Review: 07/31/18

Date & Subject of Amendments:

07/31/18 – Added the Part 2 Definitions section and four definitions, relocated the Part 3 Admission Requirements section from Policy 3.4 to this procedure, clarified the Part 6, subpart C language on documentation required by high school students, in Part 9, added “Exceptions will be made for students enrolling in non-credit and closed-credit courses offered through Continuing Education and Customized Training (CECT)”, and updated the language and formatting with the new writing and formatting styles.

Additional HISTORY.