Last minute change to SDSU admissions policy scares students

Posted at 7:09 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 13:07:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego State University has canceled a long-running admissions process for high school students looking to major in engineering.

The program was in conjunction with Project Lead the Way, a national organization that helps high schoolers prepare for college engineering courses.

For the past 11 years, students who had a 3.0 GPA and met specific engineering course requirements along with SDSU’s general admission guidelines would be given preferred admission into the college’s engineering department.

On Wednesday, SDSU emailed students with major changes. This would be the last year of the program and applicants would now need a 3.5 GPA to qualify. Additionally, some of the engineering courses previously listed would no longer count.

“Honestly, I was stunned at what happened,” said Chris Sawyer, a senior at Patrick Henry High school.

He had been in the program since his freshman year and had met the requirements.

With only one month before the application period begins, he started to panic.

“I realize now only having one plan was not the best idea. I should have had a backup plan,” he said.

By Friday, the university changed course again. While the 2018-2019 class will be the last year of the preferred admission program, they would not be changing the requirements for seniors.

In an email, SDSU wrote, “Effective August 31, seniors who meet the existing criteria for SDSU admission through PLTW will be grandfathered into the program and will not be held to any new qualifications.”

The spokesperson added, “We deeply regret that we communicated this change without sharing full details, and we sincerely apologize for the confusion it created.”

Exactly why SDSU made the sudden change remains somewhat murky. It happened after a breakdown in talks between SDSU and PLTW over teacher training.

The SDSU spokesperson said, “At the end of summer 2018, PLTW National officially removed the roles and partnership with affiliate universities across the country, including SDSU.”

But Jennifer Erbacher with PLTW responded to that, telling 10News:

"Project Lead The Way remains committed to students and educators in San Diego, and we will continue to offer training in San Diego at an alternate site. We engaged in negotiations with SDSU until this week in hopes of continuing - and expanding - our teacher training on their campus. While the training relationship has regrettably ended, PLTW fully supports SDSU offering PLTW students benefits including preferential admission, scholarships, and related opportunities. We will continue working with colleges and universities across the U.S. for the benefit of students and teachers."