Stephen F. Austin State University will increase its admission standards for first-time freshmen beginning with the fall 2012 semester.

The SFA Board of Regents approved the change at a Monday board meeting based on a recommendation from the university's administration. Raising freshman admission standards is one of the goals included in SFA's comprehensive five-year strategic plan.

"It is our belief that raising the admission standards will have a significant impact on the quality of students we attract to our university, as well as help us meet our long-term goals of increased enrollment and retention of students," said Dr. Richard Berry, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Last March, SFA President Baker Pattillo appointed a committee of faculty and staff members to study the university's admission standards and make recommendations. The committee submitted its report in September, and the administration has spent several months considering those recommendations.

"This increase in admission standards is significant, but it's not extreme," Berry said. "It places us in line with or slightly higher than most of the universities that we think of as comparable regional universities."

The change will not go into effect for two and a half years, providing adequate time to communicate the new admission standards to prospective students, he said.

The Board of Regents also approved an expansion in scope of the planned renovation of the Chemistry Building and an increase to the project budget from $6 million to $7.35 million. The increase is needed to address safety issues, as well as comprehensive infrastructure needs and building code compliance.

The additional amount will be provided from a reallocation of funds within the deferred maintenance projects budget. The renovation work on the Chemistry Building is expected to be completed during the summer.

Other actions taken by the SFA Board of Regents Monday include approval of:

A memorandum of agreement between SFA and the recently formed SFA Charter School Parent-Teacher Organization;
The Fiscal Year 2008-09 annual financial report;
Resolutions acknowledging the review of investment policy and strategy and approving qualified financial institutions and investment brokers;
Grant awards totaling almost $554,000;
Additional Oracle site licenses;
An Information Technology Services intrusion detection system;
Touchnet application service provider installment payment and cashiering services; and
The SFA Charter School Fiscal Year 2008-09 annual financial report.