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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new competitive admissions policy for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville is only one step from final approval.

The UT board of trustees’ 10-member academic committee passed the plan Wednesday. If approved by the full board Thursday, it would allow UT-Knoxville to select incoming freshman from a pool of applicants rather than automatically admitting those who have minimum qualifications.

“The new admissions process approved today by the academic committee would allow UT to manage our student population, admit the most outstanding students, and assure that they continue receive a quality education,” UT President Joe Johnson said.

Johnson said the new admissions policy is prompted by a 60 percent jump in applications in five years and an enrollment cap of 26,000 students.

The new standards would weigh entrance test scores, high school grade point average, class rank, and writing samples as admissions factors.

The proposal was passed after being amended to include more specific language that clearly defines how honors, Advanced Placement courses, and other special considerations would affect student admissions.

“There must be certain criteria to provide the admissions office with guidance on whether to admit the student or not,” said Lucy Shaw, a board member from Memphis.

“For the sake of fairness, we need to give parents as much disclosure and information as possible about what requirements their child must meet to be admitted to the University of Tennessee.”

Under the new policy, an Oct. 1 early acceptance application deadline would allow scholarship offers for high ability students to be made earlier than the current Feb. 1 date. The regular admissions deadline would move to Jan. 15 from June 1.

May 1 would be the deadline for students to confirm their admission. After May 1, those on a waiting list would be offered admission on a space-available basis.

Transfer students entering in fall 2001 would be required to have completed all required high school units and 30 hours of transferable college-level work with a minimum 2.0 grade point average. Currently, a transfer student is required to have only 12 hours of credits and a 2.0 GPA.