To get into college, you have to work hard and get good grades. Previously, you also had to take the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) Exam, but that has changed.

While you still have to work hard, TASP is now known as THEA, the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA), and the state has also approved other tests. While Texas A&M International University will accept students with satisfactory scores on the COMPASS, ACCUPLACER or ASSET, TAMIU only administers THEA and COMPASS.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires tests, such as the THEA, as part of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), which focuses on assessment of preparedness for college-level study, advising, and remediation for those who need more assistance in preparing for higher education.

Like the TASP, the THEA tests a student's competency in three sections; reading, writing, and mathematics.

At TAMIU, students must have a score of 230 in reading, 250 in mathematics and a 220 in writing. A failing grade in one or more sections will prevent a student from enrolling in courses related to those subjects, and require the student to take appropriate development courses.

Depending on a student's score on the THEA, he or she may be required to retest at the end of the developmental or remedial course. The TSI requires institutions have a developmental education plan that will increase each student's skills in the area of deficiency. Satisfactory completion of these courses allows the student to enroll in any college-level course.

Students who wish to enroll at TAMIU are not required to take the THEA if their SAT, ACT, or TAAS scores are high enough to meet the exemption requirement; if they have an associate or baccalaureate degree; or have satisfactorily completed college-level coursework at a private or out of state institution. In addition, a student who has already met the readiness standard at another Texas public institution will not have to take the THEA, nor will those serving or who have served in the military.

Having a high school GPA of 87.5 or higher, a disability or college-level work prior to 1989 are no longer exemptions.

For more information about testing at TAMIU, please contact Alejandro Martinez at 326.2131, visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 203, or e-mail amartinezjr@tamiu.edu. University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

University offices will reopen for Spring 2004 Registration at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 5. Registration may be accomplished throughout these days and prior to General Registration on Friday, Jan. 16. Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 20. Registration information is available by calling the Office of the Registrar at 326.2250.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu