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The University of Utah Institutional Council Monday approved new standards that make it easier for exceptional students to enter the university without graduating from high school.

The standards would reduce the required high school grade point average for early admission from 3.7 to 3.5 and the required ACT score from 27 (about the 85th percentile) to 25 (about the 75th percentile).Early admissions, however, has always been a small program, according to J. Stayner Landward, admissions director. Only 11 students were admitted under the program last year. In addition to high grades and test scores, students must have their parents' permission, obtain a letter from a counselor attesting that they are mature enough to handle a university environment and write a personal letter that gives solid reasons for early admission to the university.

Joe Taylor, U. academic vice president, discussed the proposal with the council at its meeting, which was preceded by a 4 1/2-hour closed-door executive session in the Alumni House.

Taylor said significant numbers of students complete high school graduation requirements early and that university administrators had concluded that early admission requirements were a bit too structured.

A press release distributed at the meeting states that some early admission students forgo a high school diploma, while others are able to use college credit to satisfy remaining high school requirements, thus receiving a diploma after a year or two of college.

Earlier, the university took administrative action to eliminate a policy requiring a student to exhaust his or her high school's offerings in a subject area before taking university courses in that subject.

That change removes a barrier to what is known as concurrent enrollment, a program under which students take one or two classes on campus while still enrolled in high school. Students take the courses at high school or on release from their high schools. Last year the U. had about 140 students in concurrent enrollment.

Contrary to a policy at some other institutions, the U. has not approved concurrent enrollment courses to be taught at high schools. Students must take the courses on campus from U. faculty.

The 1989 Legislature approved legislation directing school districts to design curricula so students can conceivably graduate by the end of their junior year.

Students who do so receive a $300 tuition credit good at Utah institutions, and their high schools receive $300 to compensate for any funding losses as a result of reduced enrollment.