Rice joins new coalition to improve college admission process

Rice University has joined a new coalition of more than 80 U.S. public and private universities and colleges whose goal is to improve the college admission application process for all students.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success plans to develop a free platform of online tools to make the process of applying to college easier — especially for students from low-income families who will be first-generation college students. The first version of the platform should be available in January to high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

logo for Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success“This coalition is essentially recasting the admission process in hopes of motivating more students from all backgrounds to start thinking about going to college,” said Chris Munoz, vice president for enrollment at Rice. “By simplifying the common admission and financial aid processes that will be used by all members of the coalition, we hope to level the playing field for all students and encourage them to begin planning for college much earlier in their high school years and to consider Rice and other leading schools as possibilities.”

Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and Duke are among the coalition members with Rice. Members include public universities that have affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents, and private colleges and universities that provide sufficient financial aid to meet the full, demonstrated financial need of every domestic student they admit. Coalition schools graduate at least 70 percent of their students within six years, with many having much higher graduation rates.

The online tools being developed by the coalition will include a digital portfolio, a collaboration platform and an application portal. High school students will be able to create an account when they are freshmen and add documents throughout high school, such as high-scoring research papers or awards. Counselors will be able to post transcripts and letters of recommendation on a secure site accessible only to admission counselors at the coalition member schools. The application will add another option to all the ways that students currently apply for college.

The tools and processes being developed will help address many of the barriers that prevent students from attending college or successfully earning a degree.

Research has found that students from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not participate effectively in the college application process, struggle with applying for financial aid and often do not get awarded all the financial aid they are entitled to. As a result, even the most highly qualified students either do not attend college, attend a college that does not engage their full potential or do not complete their degrees. Attending a high school with a college-going culture greatly increases students’ college success. The coalition aims to address these findings through its free online tools and increased transparency around admissions and financial aid.

Coalition colleges and universities will begin accepting applications in the summer of 2016.

More information, including a list of the coalition members, can be found at coalitionforcollegeaccess.org.


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.