80 Prestige Schools Team up to Redesign Common Application

80 Prestige Schools Team up to Redesign Common Application
Susan Dutca-Lovell

In less than a month the world of higher education has moved forward with changes to the traditional approaches in the college application and admission process - first, with the simplified and updated FAFSA to appear in October 2016 and now, with 80 colleges and universities building a platform to streamline the application process that they hope to debut in summer of 2016. The goal is to get rid of the old "formulaic approach" and to strengthen the communication system between students and colleges, especially for those who lack adequate and sufficient college-going resources.

October and November are notorious for being high-stress months for high school seniors race as they race to meet early application deadlines. Students and families from more affluent backgrounds often have better-equipped and resourceful educators in contrast to their disadvantaged, low-income counterparts. To remove any barriers that would prevent students from applying to college, the "coalition" group, called the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, first announced its plan for a more retro application last fall, which would house smaller membership and different requirements. Among the 83 colleges and universities that have started creating the joint application portal, 52 are private schools and 31 are public schools; several Ivy League schools as well as other elite and highly selective liberal arts institutions are represented. In order to participate, colleges must demonstrate at least 70% of students graduate within six years and private colleges must vow to meet the financial need of all U.S. students. Similarly, public institutions must have affordable in-state tuition and strong financial aid.

The new application would serve as an alternative to the Common Application, and schools may choose to keep the former version, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new application would allow students to create a portfolio by storing their schoolwork while also receiving advice and information on colleges and financial aid. With this new format, the coalition hopes to "motivate a strong college-going mindset among students of all backgrounds, especially those from low-income families or underrepresented groups who have historically had less access to leading colleges and universities."

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