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The University's goal is to adjust to shifting student interests and to accommodate all qualified students in the undergraduate majors of their choice. When limitations of space, faculty, or other resources make this goal unattainable, the college dean responsible for the major may request administrative enrollment controls.

In addition, an academic unit may wish to establish more stringent academic entrance and retention requirements for entrance to or retention in a college or major. These requests are approved by the University Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs Subcommittee on Retention and Transfer when it determines that students are not likely to be successful in a particular college/major without meeting specified standards.


Enrollment controls are established only when absolutely necessary and are based on the following principles:

  1. Enrollment controls apply to undergraduate majors and not to colleges.
  2. Students follow the enrollment control requirements in place at the time of their most recent admission to degree candidacy or re-enrollment to the University.
  3. Administrative enrollment controls are based on resource limitations in the major and justified and approved in terms of the maximum number of students who can be enrolled.
  4. Enrollment controls are approved by the Central Enrollment Management Group on an annual basis and are subject to annual review.
  5. Students meeting the requirements for entry to a major having enrollment controls shall not be denied entry to that major.
  6. When an enrollment control is established, students are admitted to the major on the basis of academic merit as measured by their cumulative grade point average at The Pennsylvania State University. In addition to the cumulative grade point average, which is seen as the primary measure of performance, enrollment controls may include the following additional criteria, where justified:
    1. Certain courses may be designated as requirements for entry to the major and, where justified, a specific grade-point average may be required for these courses or a subset of them.
    2. Credit parameters, between 29.1 and 74 completed total or cumulative credits, may be designated as entrance requirements. Any major for which credit ranges are to be used as entrance criteria must be approved by the Central Enrollment Management Group.
    3. Advanced standing transfer students (from other universities) may be considered for admission directly to a controlled major based on Admissions criteria.
  7. Students who apply for entrance to a controlled major must, at the time of application, be enrolled in the college offering that major or in the Division of Undergraduate Studies and declared as heading toward the college.
  8. Students will be approved for entry to only one enrollment controlled major since limitations of space, faculty, or other resources cause enrollment controls to be necessary, and the University strives to accommodate as many students as possible in their choice of major.
  9. The college dean may approve exceptions to the criteria specified above for individual students.

Procedure: Requests for Authorization of Enrollment Controls

Proposals for new enrollment controls or for renewal or revision of existing controls on enrollments in specific majors are to be submitted by the college deans through the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education by mid-December of each year. Except in emergency circumstances, any new or revised control becomes effective with the students admitted to the University in the summer session and fall semester following its approval. Proposals must include at least these details:

  1. An explanation of earlier enrollment planning and resource activities aimed at balancing enrollment capacities with trends in student demand and how the shortfall in instructional capacity cannot be overcome.
  2. A justification for requesting that a major be under enrollment control, as well as data supporting the maximum number of students who can be enrolled.

    The number must be justified with a documented analysis of constraints that limit instructional capacity. The document should identify the resources—both physical and fiscal—which would have to be provided to avoid the limitation on numbers. The document should also explicitly address the implications of the proposed control for revenue flows of the University.

  3. An estimate of the time period for which controls might be necessary.

    Although all controls will be approved on a year-by-year basis, circumstances requiring controls related to a long-term trend in enrollments should be identified. Consideration also should be given to achieving a needed change in levels of enrollment through a series of incremental changes in size.

  4. A detailed implementation plan for the enrollment control:

    The plan should include how and when students and advisers at all locations are notified of the enrollment controls and their potential impact as well as how and when students at all locations are advised concerning alternatives to the controlled majors. The implementation plan should also include whether and how advanced standing/transfer, degree-seeking provisional and non-degree-to-degree students will be considered and how appeals are adjudicated.

    Proposals for enrollment controls will be reviewed by the Central Enrollment Management Group early in the spring semester. The Group's decision will generally be either to approve, approve with modification, disapprove, or defer a decision pending further consultation with the proposing unit. This latter approach will allow consideration of alternative measures or provision of resources to address the enrollment pressures.

    Emergency controls may be requested if, within the next two years, an extreme imbalance will occur between student demand for entrance to a major and instructional capacity of the department, even after all possible short term reallocations of resources have been employed to bolster the department's instructional capacity. The following procedure for requesting emergency controls should be followed:

    1. The college dean directs a request to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education that provides substantiating evidence that an emergency exists.
    2. The college dean indicates how the emergency controls are to be implemented—how students are to be informed, how selections for entrance are to be made, and how students who are not selected for entrance are to be counseled and advised into alternative majors with available space.
    3. Requests for emergency controls are reviewed and approved by the Central Enrollment Management Group as described above.

Approved: Provost Richardson (2-14-85)
Effective: Summer 1985
Approved: ACUI (3-25-85)
Revised: UCEPP (10-19-94); ACUE (11-10-94); Provost Brighton (12-23-94)
Revised: Editorial (10-9-07)
Revised: ACUE (11-5-15)

Procedure: Selection Process for Majors with Approved Controls

Colleges that have received authorization to have administrative controls need to inform students about these controls and advise students regarding alternative academic majors available to them. Students at all locations will officially apply for entrance and be informed of decisions through the same system used by non-controlled majors.

All students requesting a change into a major are to be notified of their status after a request has been processed. One of three decisions regarding requests are to be entered in the system of record.

  1. Students who have successfully completed all requirements for the requested major are to be informed that they have been granted entrance to that major.
  2. Students currently enrolled in entrance-to-major courses are to be informed they will be granted conditional entrance to the major for the upcoming semester. Students must successfully complete entrance requirements and maintain GPA requirements in order to make the change permanent. Students who do not successfully complete entrance requirements or maintain GPA requirements will be changed back to DUS or the college/major of their prior enrollment. The unit will be informed when a student is changed back and should provide appropriate advising regarding possible goals.
  3. All students who are declared ineligible for their requested majors will be informed as to why they were denied entrance.  Should a student become eligible within the established credit parameters, the student may be permitted to reapply at that point in time. The notification will also include a referral to an appropriate advising center.

The Office of the University Registrar will publish annually a calendar with specific dates and events.

Undergraduate Advising Handbook: Administrative Enrollment Controls
Undergraduate Advising Handbook: Entrance to and Changes in College or Major

Approved: ACAS (2-14-86); Provost Richardson (2-20-86)
Revised: UCEPP (10-19-94); ACUE (11-10-94); Provost Brighton (12-23-94)
Revised: Editorial (10-9-07)
Revised: ACUE (11-5-15)
Revised: ACUE (10-6-16)