IN Foundation Challenges States to Rethink College Admissions Process
Thursday, September 14, 2023
The number of Indiana high school graduates who go on to college is dropping - and one reason may be the admissions process, which can be complex and confusing.
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 - and they worry that even the smallest error will lessen their chances.
Now, Lumina Foundation - an Indiana-based nonprofit - has launched 'The Great Admissions Redesign,' offering almost $3 million to state higher-ed systems to rethink the way people apply.
Lumina's Strategy Director Melanie Heath explained the goal.
"What we want to do is send out a call for the best ideas in the country about how to simplify the admissions process," said Heath. "And really, we're looking for things that are fundamentally new and different, and also simplified."
She said Lumina will accept grant proposals from state agencies, quasi-public organizations, state higher-ed systems, and groups of three or more public or private nonprofits. They'll need to show their application processes would increase college opportunities for students of color or low-income households, and first-time attendees.
More information is online at 'luminafoundation.org.'
The admissions process has gotten new scrutiny since June, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race can't be used as a factor in college admissions - ending 40 years of affirmative action.
In response to the ruling, the American Civil Liberties Union has said it's more important than ever that schools work to identify and remove barriers to equity.
Heath added that it's time for schools to rethink how they connect with students.
"I would say that's more the focus of the Great Admissions Redesign," said Heath, "is to really incentivize and support places where admissions innovations are either happening, or will likely happen soon."
The ACLU notes that schools must continue to comply with federal and state civil rights laws that require them to provide educational opportunities on an equal basis. It says creating a campus environment where students feel they belong and can fully engage academically is important to students' recruitment and success.
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