Foundation Attempts to Reboot America's Clunky College Admissions Process
Friday, September 15, 2023
The complex and confusing process of applying to college is thought to be contributing to a decline in the number of high school graduates who go on to higher education. Now, a nonprofit is stepping in with a challenge to those institutions.
In a new survey of 16- to 22-year-olds, more than half said applying for college is their "most stressful academic experience" so far. That led the Lumina Foundation to launch The Great Admissions Redesign.
To improve the application process, said Lumina strategy director Melanie Heath, almost $3 million is being offered to state higher-ed systems, where enrollment has declined across the board "in all types of different degree programs, among all ages of students, among all races of students - particularly for students of color."
In Texas and elsewhere, pandemic disruptions led many typically bound for college to jump into the workforce, where good-paying jobs were on the rise.
More information about The Great Admissions Redesign is online at luminafoundation.org.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that consideration of race in college admissions violates the Constitution, effectively ending the attempts by many universities to increase diversity. In Texas, the decision primarily impacts the University of Texas at Austin, where race was considered in undergraduate admissions, along with many private universities.
Heath said changing the decades-old admission process will require a heavy lift.
"Simplifying admissions is not something that can be done institution by institution," she said. "What's really needed is something at the system or state level - or at least, with three or more institutions."
She said proposals will need to demonstrate that the application process would increase college opportunities for students of color or low-income households, and first-time attendees.
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.
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