The institution publishes admissions policies consistent with its mission. (Admissions policies)

Compliance Judgment

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Francis Marion University consistently publishes its admissions policies so that they are easily accessible to students, faculty, staff, and prospective members of the University by posting policies on the Francis Marion website and including them in the annually published catalog. Additionally, demographic data of the student body show that admissions policies are aligned with the institutional mission statement.

Admissions Policies and the Institutional Mission

As a regional state institution serving the residents of North Eastern South Carolina, Francis Marion University’s admissions policies are aligned with its stated mission to;

  • “make available excellent educational programs for the people of the region and the state”
  • “seek a wide variety of students, primarily from the Pee Dee region, but also from the entire state, other states, and foreign countries” [because]
  • “a student body diverse in age, ethnic background, and country of origin enriches the education of all students” [1].

Demographic data of the student body bears out the above claims. Francis Marion’s 2015-2016 South Carolina State Agency Accountability Report states that 95% students come from South Carolina and the University enrolls students from 36 states and 16 foreign countries [2]. Institutional Research data records the distribution of students by Race, Sex, and Age. In the past five years the University has averaged about 3,500 students. Approximately 1,700 of these students were white, non-hispanic; 1,600 were black, non-hispanic; and the remaining were various other races/ethnicities [3]. Approximately 76% of Francis Marion graduates are female [4]. Additionally, the vast majority of Francis Marion undergraduate students are between the ages of 18-22, whereas, the majority of graduate students fall between the ages of 23-29 [5].

Publication of Admissions Policies

Francis Marion’s admissions policies for its undergraduate and graduate degree programs are published yearly in the University Catalog, which is available in electronic format on the University website. Undergraduate admission policies and procedures [6] appear separate from graduate [7]. In addition, there is a specialized web page and link to our admissions process for all categories of students on the University’s website [8, 9].

Admissions Policy Changes

The Office of Admissions is in the Division of Enrollment Management and reports to the Associate Provost for Enrollment Management who in turn reports to the Provost of the University. The Associate Provost is the Chairperson of the Admissions Committee known as the Admissions, Advisement and Retention Committee. The Admissions Committee meets at least once quarterly to review academic standards, admissions requirements and special admissions requests or appeals.

As stated in the 2016 Francis Marion Faculty Handbook, the Committee is composed of five faculty members, as well as: the Associate Provost for Enrollment Management, the Director of Admissions, the Coordinator for Orientation and Provisional programs, and the Registrar. A representative from the Financial Assistance Office shall serve without vote. Besides its duties to hear student petitions for admission/ readmission and examine recruitment, advising, and retention issues, one responsibility given to the Admissions Committee listed in the Faculty Handbook is to recommend admissions policies to the Academic Affairs Committee [10-scroll down the page]. This recommendation to Academic Affairs would initiate the Faculty Governance process, whereby any admissions policy changes would have to proceed from the Admissions Committee  to Academic Affairs, to the Faculty Senate, then to the Full Faculty for final approval as seen in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1. Approval Process of an Academic Policy or Proposal

Admissions Categories

Admissions requirements are specific to the type and classification of an undergraduate applicant and facilitate the University’s fulfillment of its mission to “serve students with a broad range of preparation and ability” [11]. These types of undergraduate applicants include traditional and non-traditional freshmen, transfer, international students, readmit students, and non-degree seeking students (i.e., concurrent high school students, auditing students, and transient students to name a few.)

Francis Marion ensures that each undergraduate applicant meets the necessary admission requirements in conjunction with their type and classification. The following is a list of admission requirements for various undergraduate students:

  • Traditional freshman must present successful completion of a prescribed high school curriculum and sufficient SAT (evidenced-based reading/writing and math) and/or ACT scores [12].
  •  Non-traditional freshmen (Adult degree-seeking) who have never attended college are not held to the same requirements, but rather are given consideration for their maturity; a high school diploma or its equivalent will satisfy their entrance requirement [13].
  • International undergraduate students who have never attended college before must present successful completion of a secondary school program, satisfactory TEST of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, and evidence of financial support to be admissible. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may be substituted for the TOEFL. If English is the student’s native language or the language in which instruction has been received, then the SAT or ACT are required instead of the TOEFL or IELTS. In some cases, high evidenced-based reading/writing scores on the SAT and/or acceptable grades on Freshman English courses may be used if the student is transferring from another postsecondary educational institution within the United States. International students who have attended college previously must present evidence of their success at their previous institution instead of the high school evidence, in addition to the TOEFL scores and financial support. College transcripts from foreign institutions must be WES (World Education Services) translated and evaluated [14].
  • Transfer students who have a minimum of 22 semester hours of transferable collegiate work are evaluated solely on their success at their previous institution [15].
  • Readmit students who return to the University with no other college attendance since their last enrollment must be eligible to return to the university. Those who attended another institution(s) must present evidence of success at that institution and be eligible to return to this institution [16].
  • For non-degree seeking students, applicants must have proof of high school graduation or an equivalent. Non-degree students may change their status to degree-seeking by applying and meeting standard University admission requirements [17].

Graduate Programs

Since 1974, Francis Marion has offered graduate programs in accordance with the University mission “to foster the economic development of the region” [18] by being responsive to the changing needs of the region and developing and offering professional degrees at the master’s and specialists levels in “business, education, nursing, physician assistant studies, and psychology” [19]. Whether it is in Business, Education, Health Sciences, or Psychology, Francis Marion strives to prepare professionals to serve in the Pee Dee region and beyond. Indeed our Education, Nursing and Psychology graduate programs all stress the need to be “responsive to the needs of the region” and educate professionals who will go on to serve both “locally and beyond” [20]. Thus, the graduate programs and graduate admissions goals are in line with the overall mission of the University. The demographic data previously presented delineates both graduate and undergraduate students in terms of Gender, Race, and Age which serves to support our adherence to our educational goals and mission at both the undergraduate as well as the graduate level.

As stated above, any changes in the admissions policy must be approved by faculty governance though compliance with prescribed procedures. For our graduate courses, admissions policy originates with the Graduate Council. Once approved there, it progresses through the cycle of the Faculty Senate and General Faculty for final approval and implementation. A recent example from the Graduate Council involved changes in the graduate admissions application to offer an online format as well as the paper copy. Minutes from various meetings of the Francis Marion Graduate Council from the 2016-2017 academic year detail that proposal and process [21].

Requirements for admission to Francis Marion University graduate programs are set by the individual departments and therefore vary from program to program. Francis Marion disseminates uniform information about graduate admission requirements in the Catalog 2016-2017 and on the university website as shown by sample item comparisons in the table below.

Graduate ProgramsSample ItemAdmission Requirement in CatalogAdmission Requirement on Website
School of BusinessResumep. 177 [22]Business Application [23]
School of EducationStatement of philosophy of educationp. 179-180 [24] Education Application [25]
Department of NursingLicense to practice nursingp. 187 [26] Nursing Application [27]
Department of PsychologyScholarships and assistantshipsp. 193-194 [28] Psychology Application [29]
Physician Assistant ProgramCentral Application Service and Supplemental Applicationp. 190 [30] Physician Assistant Program Supplemental Application [31]

Table 1. Dissemination of Uniform Graduate Admissions Policies


  1. Catalog 2016-2017, Mission Statement, p. 9
  2. Accountability Report 2015-2016 – Customers
  3. FMU Demographic Information, Race, July 19, 2017
  4. FMU Demographic Information, Gender, July 19, 2017
  5. FMU Demographic Information, Age, July 19, 2017
  6. Catalog 2016-2017, Undergraduate Admissions, p. 23-26
  7. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Admissions, p. 172-173
  8. Website Admissions Requirements
  9. Website High School Students Admissions Requirements
  10. Faculty Handbook 2016, Academic, Advising, and Retention Committee, p. 102-103
  11. Catalog 2016-2017, Mission Statement, p. 9
  12. Catalog 2016-2017, Admission to the University, p. 23
  13. Catalog 2016-2017, Adult Students, p. 25
  14. Catalog 2016-2017, International Students, p. 24-25
  15. Catalog 2016-2017, Transfer Students, p. 24
  16. Catalog 2016-2017, Academic Renewal Policy, p. 58
  17. Catalog 2016-2017, Non-degree Seeking Students, p. 25
  18. Catalog 2016-2017, Mission Statement, p. 9
  19. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Program History, p. 171
  20. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Schools of Education, Nursing, & Psychology Mission Statements, p. 179, 187, & 193.
  21. Graduate Council Minutes September 27, 2016 & February 21. 2017
  22. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Business Program Admissions Requirements, p. 177
  23. Graduate Business Application Website
  24. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Education Program Admission Requirements, p. 179-180
  25. Graduate Education Application Website
  26. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Nursing Program Admissions Requirements, p. 187
  27. Graduate Nursing Application Website
  28. Catalog 2016-2017, Graduate Psychology Program Admissions Requirements, p. 193-194
  29. Graduate Psychology Application Website
  30. Catalog 2016-2017, Physician Assistant Program Admissions Requirements, p. 190
  31. Graduate Physician Assistant Program Application Website