Ohio University is looking to make enrolling more attractive to prospective students with the announcement of an amended admission policy for fall 2021 applicants.

The OHIO Admission Promise, announced by the university on Tuesday, promises general admission to students who meet the following qualifications: earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school; apply by Jan. 15, 2021; and enroll for fall 2021 as a full-time, first-year, degree-seeking student on the Athens campus.

Additional incentives for prospective students include a waived application fee and a minimum $2,000 renewable award for Athens freshmen whose federal financial aid results reach OU by Jan. 15.

“The high school graduating class of 2021 will have persevered through one of the most uncertain and challenging seasons in the history of education,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “Through the OHIO Admission Promise, we want to provide some peace of mind to prospective students and their families as they consider college plans. We want to encourage them to continue to prioritize pursuit of a high-quality education, despite these most trying times.”

Students who met OU’s Nov. 15 Early Action deadline for the Athens campus will be eligible for the OHIO Admission Promise Award as well, and all fall 2021 admitted students will still be considered for OHIO’s generous merit- and need-based scholarship programs.

The Admission Promise is the latest effort by the university to attract prospective students in the light of the university’s lower enrollment numbers, which have been declining since 2016, as well as OU’s financial struggles.

Since Jan. 1, 2020, over 400 faculty members, in addition to classified and non-classified staff members, have lost their jobs. Hundreds more have faced cutbacks — at least 88 employees, mainly faculty, accepted early retirement deals.

Looking forward, the university projects nearly $300 million in losses over the next several years. Programs like the Admission Promise hope to mitigate some of this revenue, as higher enrollment means more students living on-campus, one of the university’s largest revenue sources.

The Admission Promise joins another decision by OU earlier this year that will make the admission process easier for students – the elimination of standardized testing.

In June, OU announced that it would be following suit with many institutions nationwide which no longer require prospective students to submit standardized test scores with their applications. This was done in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many students no longer had access to the testing centers.

Students applying may still submit their test scores for scholarship purposes, but a lack of submitted score will bear no weight on admittance.

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