WTF? Is UNM President Frank Really Considering These 2 Stupid Ideas?


Yosemite Frank


How many stupid ideas can the UNM administration come up with this year? Here are 2 absolutely moronic ideas that top the list for 2014. I know that President Frank may not be responsible for all of them…but our story needs a villain and he is it. (PLUS, #WhatTheFrank sounds really cool)

STUPID IDEA #1: Hurting underrepresented & low income students

Recently, NMSU decided that raising admission standards to a 2.75 GPA is a good idea. For some stupid reason, UNM is considering making the exact same change to its admission standards.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that there must be some type of admission standards in place at major universities. But, by utilizing both a higher GPA and standardized test scores, many minorities/ lower-income students will not be able to attend UNM.

In 2009, UNM admitted that GPA’s alone are sufficient in determining academic ability. In a report to the LESC, UNM testified:

“The high school GPA increase is the preferred choice for improving preparation as opposed to utilizing a minimum score on a standardized college entrance exam such as ACT or SAT. Not only is the high school GPA considered more predictive of college success but the de-emphasis of test scores in favor of curriculum and GPA assists the University in maintaining a strong commitment to access and diversity since this approach has less of an impact on underrepresented populations.

So…if they want to increase GPA requirements, they MUST get rid of ACT or SAT score requirements. In the same report, they brag:

“The University of New Mexico has admirably resisted implementing a minimum test score requirement to be admitted.”

It’s funny how bureaucrats change their tune so quickly. How was a bad idea a few years ago now considered a good idea? I know…Money talks.

King Frank

STUPID IDEA #2: Making it difficult for the AVERAGE New Mexico child to be admitted

In the report, UNM testified that:

No New Mexico beginning freshman will be denied admission to UNM”

To begin with…that is absolutely hilarious! According to the PED and a complaint filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) the average ACT score in New Mexico is 17 as opposed to the national average of 25.

On top of that, the test adversely impacts minorities: 78% of New Mexican Caucasians met the college readiness benchmarks in English while only 49% of Latino, 28% of Native Americans, and 53% of African American students did.

Currently, UNM “requires” students that are accepted who score below 17 to enroll in the Early Start Program. The students are required to take 6 credit hours the summer before Freshman semester starts. If they do not complete the 6 hours, they will not officially be admitted into UNM.

The program is not covered by the Lottery scholarship and is not fully funded. Many of the students go into debt to take the classes.

UNM plans to require students who score a 19 or lower on the ACT to enroll in Early Start beginning in 2015.

Therefore, the “AVERAGE” New Mexico student will only be conditionally admitted to UNM if they get a slot in Early Start (which has limited slots available).

So…it seems that almost ALL “average” New Mexico students will be denied admission to UNM!

Dumb,Dumber & Dumbest

These 2 ideas are stupid and we need to speak up. How can the “average” students in New Mexico be held responsible for a failing educational system?

As UNM admitted, the ACT/SAT tests adversely impact minorities and low-income students. Yet they have gone back on their word and decided that they are important for some reason. Do they care about New Mexico students or are they more concerned about their US News College ranking?

They need to focus on what is important to our children…not their paycheck size. If you have any other stupid ideas that you know about concerning any of New Mexico’s Institutions of Higher Education, Tweet them to @DailyLoco or use #WhatTheFrank




  1. WTFrank is right! The changes to the Lottery Scholarship and the increase of NMSU admission requirements have paved the way for UNM to follow. It’s all a concerted effort of both administration and higher ed to exclude. Who’s excluded? Who will be most impacted? We already know the answer to this. We need to start strategizing on this right away, they already are…

    • I completely agree with you. Unfortunately other people do not see that certain students are excluded under the new requirements and changes (see the other comment in this article). We need to strategize, organize, and educate.

  2. Dr. Archibald Squarecheeks III says:

    Of the students who enter UNM with a 2.75 GPA or below, about 90% never graduate. Of the students who need to take all three of the remedial-level classes at UNM (math, reading, writing), 97% never graduate. Why is it helping these kids to encourage them to spend years and thousands of dollars, in many cases going into debt, chasing a diploma that they simply have never been given the skills to earn?

    Students who have such poor academic records, most of them from high schools where even the best-performing students graduate barely prepared for higher education, need much more remedial instruction than they can possibly get at UNM. It is not the function of a research university to provide that instruction — the state’s community colleges are far better able to do that, are much cheaper, and offer completely open admission. Those students who get the assistance they need in that environment can then transfer to UNM, which admits students who have succeeded at community college regardless of their high school GPA. This state already has hundreds of thousands of people who began college at UNM or NMSU and never finished. In the majority of cases, this result is perfectly predictable from a few simple variables. If we are honest with students in this situation that they are highly unlikely to graduate if they enroll directly in UNM, and that their best chance is to spend a few semesters at CNM (where they will spend much less money and be taught by instructors with more experience and training for providing remedial education), everybody will be better off.

    • Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately your talking points ignore some very important factors.
      First of all, although the remedial rate for the state is 51%, the majority of minority and lower-income students require remediation. (Native Americans 59%, Hispanic 69%, and lower-income 79%)
      Schools with high poverty rates tend to have the highest remediation rates (Gallup 77%, West Mesa High School 77%, Zuni High 90%)
      Although you have a valid point about preparation and lower costs, the fact is that forcing minorities and lower-income students into community colleges is a form of segregation. Why are these students to blame for poor performing school districts? Is it their fault that their parents cannot afford to live in elite (mostly caucasian) school districts?
      The mission of UNM,NMSU, and other 4 year institutions is to improve the future of our children, not to be “worker” factories for corporate America. WE have let these children down by giving them horrible educational foundations. We need to make a choice…we need to improve K-12 or adjust our higher education expectations.
      On top of all this, the main point of the article is that the ACT/SAT are biased, unnecessary tests that adversely impact minorities and lower-income students (as UNM admitted in their report to the LESC). By combining higher GPA requirements, remedial coursework, and higher ACT scores… UNM is slamming the door closed on certain classes of students.
      There is nothing wrong with starting out at a community college like CNM. But the reality is that most of the students who start there do not finish (13% completion rate) AND only about 14% transfer to a 4 year institution. There are many factors that come into play that lead to these poor results (but my reply would by very long if I addressed them).
      As far as your “saving money” comment, that is partly untrue. The changes to the Lottery Scholarship will actually make it cheaper to attend UNM than some community colleges. This year, the NMLLS will cover the full tuition at UNM while it will fall (per credit hour) $77 short at Dona Ana Community Colleges, $257 short at NMSU-Grants, and $293 short for NMSU-Alamogordo. Multiple other schools charge more than the NMLLS will cover. Therefore, these students will have a higher debt load than UNM students.
      The whole system is messed up and needs to change. I agree with you that we need to fix our K-12 system to prepare students for higher education. BUT we cannot lock the door to a better future for minorities and lower-income students just because their parents cannot live in elite neighborhoods and afford ACT/SAT test preparation. Many of these students will be first generation college attendees. They need support…not obstacles.
      Also, one of the major reasons for low graduation rates at UNM is the abysmal 800:1 advisor to student ratio. How can these students get the help that they need when the advisors are so overworked? How can a struggling student succeed in a math class that is computer based and has 200 students in it?
      Thank you for the engaging discussion and I look forward to your response.

  3. The average ACT score for New Mexico High School students is a 17. This “fact” is not correct in order to be an average score we would need to have ALL New Mexico High School students take the ACT Test. When in reality only the upper 1/3 of High School students ever take the ACT Exam because of cost and other factors. So the “average” is skewed-up pardon the phrase!

    • Jack, thank you for the clarification. I agree with you that the ACT scores are skewed. Many New Mexico students never take the test. I think that the ACT/SAT need to be removed from the admissions process. Let the students record speak for itself.

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