The universities had planned to increase the number of required high school courses, mostly with advanced classes, from 15.5 to 19.5 for high school students graduating in 2012.
Education leaders say they believe that requiring courses like calculus and physics would better prepare students for college.
The Clarion-Ledger reported that the board adopted a new policy Thursday that listed the advanced courses as "recommended" rather than required. The required courses will remain the same as they are now.
Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds said some school districts "are too small to offer the courses."