University grants exceptions in alternative admissions

Stephan Useche/Staff Writer

For some students applying to the University, the process can sometimes take more than a few minutes behind the computer. For FIU, the admission criteria depends on the Board of Governors’ regulations, but there is a margin of flexibility when it comes to students who prove to have a disability, talent, or who come from a homeless background.

This alternative admission is also known as holistic admission, which allows the University to review the students beyond the requirements asked in the application.

“To be able to review a student under a different light allows us to actually provide access to a specific population,” said Luisa Havens, vice president of Enrollment Services. “It allows us to actually be fair and to say that not everyone is the same.”

Students may inform the University of their disability or talent by specifying it in their application or by appealing a denial decision.

According to Havens, they have to submit a letter explaining their situation along with a letter of recommendation from people who know them the most, which would help explain their case.

“You might see this in veterans who are coming back, somebody who after high school wasn’t great of a student, but then they go to war, they grow up, then they come back changed with a different commitment,” said Havens. “That aspect to come back and ask for a second change is what makes us review them.”

These exceptions allow the University to take into consideration other factors that would normally not be considered at the time of reviewing a student.

As a public institution, the University follows all the regulations that are set by the Board of Governors. According to Havens, the University can’t decide which factors to take into consideration when it comes to admitting students, but it can modify some of the requirements, such as the GPA or SAT scores, by raising the minimum score required.

When it’s time for faculty and staff from the University to review the applications of first time college students, race and ethnicity aren’t taken into consideration, because the state of Florida doesn’t allow it.

“We are a public institution, so it is not like we can decide what factors to take into account,” said Havens.

FIU has been designated a Hispanic service institution, however, according to Havens.

“If at least 25 percent of your student population comes from hispanic descent, regardless of race, then you are considered a hispanic service institution,” said Havens. “When you are a public institution, then you are created to serve the community you reside, so my student body looks like from the area where I am from.”

This diversity is shown in the 2012 Fact Book, where 50 percent of the students admitted in the University were of Hispanic descent, and the other half were black, Asian, Native American and white.

According to Havens, it is important to provide the students with an engaging and fertile environment in order to offer diversity within the institution.


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