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"Window" Admissions

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education freshman admission index for the University of Colorado, Boulder campus is 103. The index is calculated from test scores (ACT or SAT) and high school grade point average or class rank. CCHE also considers a GED score of 55 or higher as equivalent to an index of 103.

The CCHE admission standard, revised in October 2003, requires that at least a stated percentage of freshmen admitted for study have indices (or GED equivalents) at or above the specified value of 103 for Boulder. Those graduating from high school in 2008 and later must also meet high school curricular standards. Admitted students with academic records under the specified index value are said to be in the window. The admission standard allows CU-Boulder 16% of admits in the window for 2005-06 (14% for 2006-07, diminishing to 10% in 2008-09).

The 2003 revision of the admission standard changed the calculation of the index for applicants applying for admission in summer 2004 and thereafter. Average indices and percentages of applicants with 103 and above for 2004 and later are therefore not comparable to those in earlier periods unless the revised index is used with all groups. The number of students accepted within the window varies from year to year, as does the proportion of students of color within the window.

For the fall 2005, UCB offered admission to 14,719 freshmen applicants subject to the admission standard (international students are exempt). 8% or 1,166 admits were “in the window,” with indices or GED equivalents under 103. 23% of these admits were applicants of color, 77% were white/Caucasian. 4,934 of all admitted freshmen matriculated (enrolled); 471 or less than 10% of this enrolled total was “in the window.” 25% of the window matriculants were students of color; 75% were white/Caucasian. Of the window matriculants, 2% or 9 students were athletes.

Detailed race/ethnic breakdowns

  • Admits: 1166 fall freshmen applicants were admitted “in the window” with high school and test score credentials (or GED’s) not meeting the CCHE admission standard for Boulder. Of these 1166, 71% were white, 4% African American, 1% Native American, 5.5% Asian American, 12% Hispanic/Latino, less than 1% international, and 5% with no race/ethnicity reported by the applicant.
  • Matriculants: 471 of the window admits matriculated. Of these 471, 69% were white, 3% African American, 1% Native American, 8% Asian American, 12.5% Hispanic/Latino, less than 1% international, and 5% with no race/ethnicity reported by the applicant.

Graduation rates of students within the window are somewhat lower than those for the student body at large, but still well over 50%, indicating that the acceptance decisions made are sound. For freshmen entering in fall 1998, for example, 59% of window matriculants and 71% of other matriculants have graduated. All Colorado public colleges and universities except CU-Boulder, CSU, and Colorado School of Mines have overall graduation rates under 50%. (Details can be found at

Six-year graduation rates for students of color and whites are plotted below by band of the CCHE admission index for students entering 1997 through 1999 combined. 1999 is the latest entry cohort with six full years of opportunity through summer 2005. Per federal standards graduation rates are always calculated through degrees awarded in a summer term.

The table below shows the relationship of index to six-year graduation rate for each racial/ethnic group, grouped into new freshmen with admission indices 103+ vs. those “in the window.” As the plot above shows, this grouping hides considerable variation in academic preparation and graduation rates.

  With index 103+ In the window
N Rate Avg index N Rate Avg index
All 9,926 69% 115 3,140 58% 97
All students of color 1,097 66% 114 738 49% 94
All others 8,829 70% 115 2,402 61% 98
By race/ethnic/citizenship

African American 97 64% 113 147 51% 91
Asian American 532 70% 115 246 48% 95
Hispanic/Latino 407 65% 113 309 49% 95
Native American 61 49% 113 36 47% 97
White 8,403 70% 115 2,303 61% 98
Unknown 339 60% 118 87 55% 97
International 87 57% 112 12 58% 98

Only about an average of 20 students enroll each year with revised indices below 93. The graduation rate for these students (e.g., those entering fall 1998 with original indices below 88) has also been higher than the average graduation rate for students at all Colorado 4-year institutions (UCD, UCCS, UNC, Metro, Adams, Ft. Lewis).

CCHE references:

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Last revision 10/22/08

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