ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ New Mexico State University officials will likely decide this month whether to raise the minimum grade point average required for admission, the Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday.

The university’s Board of Regents is set to vote July 23 on a measure that would change admission standards. Those changes include raising the qualifying GPA from 2.5 to 2.75, starting in fall 2016.

Provost Dan Howard says he expects the measure to pass.

School officials say the move would improve graduation rates and strengthen the NMSU brand. The school would be more competitive when it comes to enticing out-of-state and foreign students as well, some officials said.

The regents won’t just be voting on GPA. The package of new admissions qualifications includes the Guaranteed Pathway program. The program would put high school applicants with low GPAs in a NMSU community college, where smaller classes are the norm. Students enrolled there that earn at least 24 credit hours and a minimum 2.5 GPA would be eligible to transfer to NMSU.

Howard said the school isn’t trying to be exclusive or change its diversity.

“The real motivation is that we think, by doing this, we’ll help students be more successful,” Howard said. “We want to be more inclusive, not exclusive.”

The University of New Mexico has also made similar changes. The school raised its minimum GPA gradually over the last few years culminating in a change to 2.5 last year. UNM also added a required college preparatory class, adding to the required credit units for admission.

UNM officials say the change enhances their appeal to students and their ability to market the school.

The new requirements would likely see a short-term drop in the number of freshmen at both schools.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which makes forecasts on the number of high school graduates nationwide, says the number of graduating students each year is likely to drop. In New Mexico, the number of high school graduates this year fell to more than 18,800. Experts predict it will not surpass 20,000 until 2018.