High school students graduating without an arts class credit next year can still be accepted into state universities, the Louisiana Board of Regents decided Thursday.

Not delaying the change until 2013 may have impacted hundreds of students who were not aware they needed an art, music or theater credit as part of the expanded college core curriculum going into effect next year, said Theresa Hay, Regents associate commissioner for strategic initiatives.

Such a credit is not always required for high school graduation.

The Regents’ planning, research and performance committee unanimously signed off on the adjustment Wednesday and the full board rubberstamped the decision Thursday.

Hay called it an unusual fix that was needed because core curriculum changes are going into effect for public school graduates applying for college next year. But it was not going to affect private or parochial school graduates until 2013. So there was some confusion, she said.

Now, the art core unit will not be required for everyone until 2013.

“This is part of the admissions framework that’s required for admission into any four-year institution (in the state),” Hay said.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell said he supports “slightly tweaking the requirements” with regards to the art credit.

The biggest changes to tougher admission standards being phased in starting next year are colleges will only consider “core curriculum” grade-point averages, rather than overall GPA, and not accept students who need any developmental or remedial classes.

That means students will no longer be able to pad their grade-point averages with classes like physical education for college applications.

Colleges also will require additional core high school classes — a fourth science course and an extra history or social science course — and no longer consider a student’s class rank in applications.

“The (college) institutions are really preparing to meet the standards and maximize the efforts to recruit students,” Purcell said Wednesday.

Some college leaders have complained about the Board of Regents forcing them to implement tougher admission standards under the argument that student enrollment will suffer too much during a time of state budget cuts to higher education.

But Purcell said the complaints about the standards are subsiding.

“The Board (of Regents) gave pretty good clarity they were going to be done,” he said.

Purcell said he does not expect the enrollment levels to suffer as much as some projections have indicated because the standards will change student behaviors.