Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commision on Colleges – Fifth Year Interim Report

5. Admissions policies [CS 3.4.3]

Standard 5: The institution publishes admissions policies that are consistent with its mission. (Comprehensive Standard 3.4.3)

Status: In Compliance

Berea College publishes admissions policies consistent with its mission. The College’s mission, articulated in the Great Commitments includes the following admissions-related statements:

  • To provide an educational opportunity primarily for students from Appalachia, black and white, who have great promise and limited financial resources.
  • To create a democratic community dedicated to education and equality for women and men.

Berea College’s formal admissions policy stems directly from these commitments:

Berea College should seek to recruit students mostly from Appalachia, black and white, men and women, (a) who have limited economic resources, (b) whose “great promise” is defined by significant potential for academic excellence with assistance appropriate to Berea’s character and means, and by personal qualities consistent with Berea’s Great Commitments, (c) who will be attracted by Berea’s clearly articulated emphasis on learning, labor, and service as worthy educational and personal goals, and (d) who will represent a diverse cultural and ethnic mix that will create a 21st-century learning environment. The total student body should number approximately 1,600 as noted in the Enrollment Policies Committee minutes of January 22, 2011.

Berea’s commitment to interracial education has customarily been reflected in the enrollment of a high percentage of African American students. Recruitment efforts in this regard include three significant on-campus events. The first is our Legacy Scholars program, an event that occurs in the spring and brings approximately 80 of the region’s most promising and financially disadvantaged African American juniors and their advocates to Berea for an awards program and introduction to campus. In the fall, the ASPIRES program includes 25 of the strongest African American senior prospects for admission who participate in a workshop that prepares them to become competitive applicants for admission and scholarship at various programs, including Berea College. Then, during Black History Month, we host the Carter G. Woodson Open House which typically involves around 100 African American seniors in a full weekend of activities designed to introduce them to the campus. The Open House includes a Unity Banquet on Saturday night where prospective students are recognized among currently enrolled students during a program that demonstrates Berea’s active commitment to integration and the celebration of African American student successes.

Berea College publishes its admissions policies and procedures for first-year students and transfer students in the Berea College Catalog as well as on the Berea College Admissions Web site.  The College regularly monitors and reports key mission indicator trends.  The College Fact Book, published annually, tracks and reports students by Appalachian status, race/ethnicity, and gender trends. It also reports retention and graduation rates by these categories.  Any inconsistencies between the mission and admissions policy are identified and alternatives considered. The recent design and implementation of a required admissions interview provides an example of how this process brings about increased alignment between institutional mission and admissions policy.

Supporting Documents and Evidence

  1. Berea College 2011-2012 Catalog and Student Handbook, Great Commitments (Website)
  2. Enrollment Policies Committee Meeting Minutes, January 22, 2011
  3. Berea College 2011-2012 Catalog and Student Handbook
    1. First-Year Policies and Procedures (Website)
    2. Transfer Policies and Procedures (Website)
  4. Office of Admissions (Website)
  5. Mission Indicators Report, 2008

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