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Alignment Between High School Graduation and College Admissions Course Requirements

A growing number of voices in both education and economic policy propose that in tomorrow’s workforce, all students will need some postsecondary education, be it technical certification, an associate’s degree, a 4-year degree, an MA or beyond. However, many students and their parents do not realize that there is generally a gap between the number of Carnegie units—and the specific courses in those units—required for high school graduation and those required for admission to a 4-year college or university. In addition, high remediation rates among first-year students in both 2- and 4-year postsecondary institutions suggest that existing state and local graduation requirements are not adequately aligned with postsecondary expectations.

Though some critics argue that not all students should be expected to enroll in some form of postsecondary education after high school, consensus is building that the skills and knowledge necessary for success in entry-level positions in the workforce are in fact similar to those needed for success in entry-level postsecondary coursework.

This database examines the alignment between state-mandated courses for high school graduation and those set by states for unconditional freshman college admissions in those states that set statewide college entrance requirements. States that do not set statewide high school graduation requirements or do not set statewide college admissions requirements are defined as "not aligned" for purposes of this review.

Fully aligned: State has standard high school graduation requirements that meet or exceed the number of units as well as course types (i.e., Algebra I, lab sciences) required for college admission.

Partially aligned: State has standard high school graduation requirements that meet or exceed the number of units, but do not meet the course type requirements.

Not aligned: At least one of the following:
(1) State does not require all high school students to complete the number of courses in each subject required for college admissions;
(2) State does not have statewide high school graduation requirements; and/or
(3) State does not have statewide college admissions requirements (college admissions requirements set by individual institutions).

Additional information can be found in the April 2006 ECS StateNote, Alignment of High School Graduation Requirements and State-Set College Admissions Requirements.

The database and StateNote update information in the 2002 report by the National Association of System Heads (NASH), Aligning K-12 and Postsecondary Expectations: State Policy in Transition.

Due to the width of this table, it is recommended that Web visitors print the table in landscape format.

Methodology: This information was collected primarily from state statutes, rules and regulations, and postsecondary governing/coordinating board policy manuals, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

Last updated: April 2006

This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.

State-set admissions requirements for state public institutions English requirements Math requirements Social studies requirements Science requirements Foreign language requirements Sources
Alabama
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: ALA. ADMIN. CODE R. 290-3-1-.02, ALA. CODE § 16-6B-2
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Alaska
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: ALASKA ADMIN. CODE tit. 4, § 06.075
    College admissions requirements: Each institution within the University of Alaska system appears to set its own freshman admissions requirements.
    American Samoa
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Arizona
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: ARIZ. ADMIN. CODE R7-2-302.04
    College admissions requirements: Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual, Policy 2-102 (see beginning page 15)
    Arkansas
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: 005 19 CARR 007
    College admissions requirements: Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Core for Unconditional Admission
    California
  • Yes
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: CAL. EDUC. CODE § 51225.3, 51224.5
    College admissions requirements: Cal. Admin. Code tit. 5, § 40601, 40753, CSU admissions Web page, UC admissions Web page
    Colorado
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: CO Const. Art. IX, § 15, COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 22-1-104
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Connecticut
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. § 10-221a
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Delaware
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: Code Del Regs. 14 100 6.0, 14 505
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    District of Columbia
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: D.C. MIN. REGS. tit. 5, § 2203
    College admissions requirements: The District of Columbia does not appear to have district-wide admissions requirements
    Florida
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1003.43
    College admissions requirements: Florida Board of Regents Rules, Chapter 6C-6
    Georgia
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: GA. COMP. R. & REGS. r. 160-4-2-.47
    College admissions requirements: Georgia Board of Regents Policy Manual Section 402.0101
    Hawaii
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: Hawaii State BOE Policy 4540
    College admissions requirements: Board of Regents policies, Chapter 5, Section 5-11
    Idaho
  • Yes
  • Fully aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: IDAPA 08.02.03, § 105
    College admissions requirements: University of Idaho Web site (same requirements to enter Boise State University, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College or the University of Idaho)
    Illinois
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/27-22, ILL. ADMIN. CODE tit. 23, § 1.440
    College admissions requirements: State Universities in Illinois – At a Glance, by the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling
    Indiana
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7-6.1, IND. CODE ANN. § 20-12-17.5
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Iowa
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: IOWA ADMIN. CODE r. 281-12.3(5), 12.5(5)
    College admissions requirements: Iowa Board of Regents Policy 6.01, Iowa Board of Regents document "Building Your Future"
    Kansas
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: KAN. ADMIN. REGS. 91-31-21
    College admissions requirements: Kansas Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, July 1995, page 45 and Kansas Board of Regents Qualified Admissions Web page
    Kentucky
  • Yes
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: 704 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 3:305
    College admissions requirements: 13 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 2:020
    Louisiana
  • Yes
    Notes: State has "Regents Core," but institutions may adopt additional requirements.
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, part CXV, § 2319
    College admissions requirements: Louisiana Board of Regents Public University Minimum Admissions Criteria
    Maine
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 20, § 4722
    College admissions requirements: Personal communication, University of Southern Maine staff, August 2005
    Maryland
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: MD. REGS. CODE tit. 13A, § 03.02.04
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Massachusetts
  • Yes
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. Ch. 69, § 1D
    College admissions requirements: Admissions Standards for the Massachusetts State Colleges and University
    Michigan
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 380.1166, 380.1278
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Minnesota
  • No
    Notes/Citation: Admissions requirements set independently by University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU)
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: MINN. STAT. § 120B.021, 120B.024
    College admissions requirements: For institutions)governed by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU); for University of Minnesota
    Mississippi
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards, Revised September 2005, Appendix A-1
    College admissions requirements: Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning, State of Mississippi Policies and Bylaws, § 600-1
    Missouri
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Units below are from 16-unit core curriculum required to apply to a public 4-year college. Students must complete a 17-unit core curriculum to apply to the University of Missouri.
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: Graduation Handbook
    College admissions requirements: Missouri Department of Higher Education Web site
    Montana
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: MONT. ADMIN. R. 10.55.905
    College admissions requirements: Montana University System document
    Nebraska
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: NEB. ADMIN. CODE tit. 92, ch. 10, § 003, NEB. REV. STAT. § 79-729
    College admissions requirements: Nebraska does not have statewide college admissions requirements
    Nevada
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: NEV. ADMIN. CODE ch. 389, § 664
    College admissions requirements: Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, chapter 16
    New Hampshire
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23
    College admissions requirements: New Hampshire does not have statewide college admissions requirements
    New Jersey
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 6, § 8-5.1, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 18A:35-1 and -2
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    New Mexico
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: N.M. STAT. ANN. § 22-13-1.1
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    New York
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 8, § 100.5
    College admissions requirements: New York State Education Department, Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE) Institutional Accreditation Self-Study Guide, Standards: Administration
    North Carolina
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Alignment reflects undergraduate admissions requirements eff. Fall 2006.
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: N.C. ADMIN. CODE tit. 16, r. 6D.0503
    College admissions requirements: University of North Carolina Board of Governors Policy Manual 700.1.1
    North Dakota
  • Yes
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: N.D. CENT. CODE § 15.1-21-.02.1, 15.1-21-02
    College admissions requirements: North Dakota SBHE Policies, Section 402.2
    Ohio
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3313.603
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Oklahoma
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 70, § 11-103.6, 11-111
    College admissions requirements: Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Web page
    Oregon
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Alignment reflects undergraduate admissions requirements eff. Fall 2006. "Graduates of Oregon high schools may also use the Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS) option to substitute for English, mathematics, science, social science, and second language subject requirements."
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: OR. ADMIN. R. 581-022-1130
    College admissions requirements: Oregon State Board of Higher Education admission policy, approved February 4, 2005
    Pennsylvania
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: 22 PA. CODE § 4.24
    College admissions requirements: Pennsylvania does not have statewide college admissions requirements
    Rhode Island
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: R.I. CODE R. 08 050 001
    College admissions requirements: Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, Policies of Administrative Supervision
    South Carolina
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: 43 S.C. CODE ANN. REGS. 259
    College admissions requirements: South Carolina Commission on Higher Education College Preparatory Course Prerequisite Requirements
    South Dakota
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: S.D. ADMIN. R. 24:43:11:02, 24:43:11:04, 24:43:11:05, S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 13-33-19
    College admissions requirements: South Dakota Board of Regents Policy Manual, Number 2:3
    Tennessee
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: TENN. COMP. R. & REGS. 0520-1-3-.05 and -.06
    College admissions requirements: Rules of Tennessee Higher Education Commission section 1540-1-2-.12
    Texas
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.42
    College admissions requirements: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 51.803-51.805
    Utah
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: UTAH ADMIN. CODE R277-700-6
    College admissions requirements: Utah State Board of Regents R 461-3.2
    Vermont
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: Vt. Code R. 2120.8.2.1
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
    Virgin Islands
    Virginia
  • No
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: 8 VA. ADMIN. CODE § 20-131-50
    College admissions requirements: VA. CODE ANN. § 23-9.6:1
    Washington
  • Yes
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not aligned
  • High school graduation requirements: WASH. ADMIN. CODE 180-51-060
    College admissions requirements: Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board Web site
    West Virginia
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-42-6
    College admissions requirements: West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Procedural Rule, § 133-23-3
    Wisconsin
  • Yes
  • Fully aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Not aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: WIS. STAT. ANN. § 118.33, WIS. ADMIN. CODE § 18.03
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, University of Wisconsin System Regent Policy Document 72-11
    Wyoming
  • Yes
  • Partially aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Fully aligned
  • Partially aligned
  • Not included in college entrance requirements
  • High school graduation requirements: WYO. STAT. ANN. § 21-2-304, WY Rules and Regulations EDU GEN Ch. 31 s 9
    College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, University of Wyoming Web site


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