U of I Hosts National Conference on Direct College Admissions Policies
by Sharita Forrest, UI News Bureau / Nov 22, 2019
A national conference on direct college admissions policies will be held Dec. 6 on the University of Illinois campus. The daylong Direct Admissions Conference at the I-Hotel and Conference Center will explore how these programs can reverse college access gaps among low-income, rural and urban populations; can help mitigate admissions and financial aid costs; and help postsecondary institutions address declining enrollments and equity concerns.
Policymakers and agency representatives from states that currently use direct admissions and/or related policies will speak about their systems and share early outcomes. Participants also will include nationally prominent education researchers, education foundation partners and officials from states that are considering adopting direct admissions programs.
Under direct admissions systems, students are proactively admitted to college. Typically, all students are admitted to open-access institutions, and students who surpass a pre-identified academic performance threshold – based upon grade point average, ACT/SAT scores or a combination of measures – are admitted to selective colleges.
Students, parents and high schools receive letters indicating that a student has been admitted to a set of colleges and how they can claim their place using a common, free application.
Direct admissions policies can be life changing for students who might not consider or otherwise have the opportunity to pursue higher education, including first-generation college students and high-achieving, low-income students, said the conference organizer, Jennifer A. Delaney, a professor of Education at the U. of I.
“In 2015, Idaho adopted the nation’s first direct admissions program, admitting all high school graduates to a set of the state’s public institutions,” Delaney said. “Idaho has reported remarkably positive outcomes, including an 88% increase in applications, a 6.7% increase in the state’s college-going rate and a 3% reduction in students migrating out of state for college.”
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