The Coalition. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of higher ed news headlines with these two simple words. So what’s all the buzz about? More than 80 prestigious public and private institutions have teamed up to form The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success (aka The Coalition), announcing their revolutionary approach to the college application process. Although their primary intention is to provide more access to college for low-income, underserved students, members of this group do not ultimately enroll these types of students. Jon Boeckenstedt, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University, provides the best data-driven synopsis.
The group plans to provide free, online planning and guidance tools to assuage the confusion associated with applying to college, as well as a joint application and “virtual locker” where students, as early as ninth grade, can house academic and extracurricular materials to use later as inspiration and reference when completing the online application. The Coalition’s recent announcement has received much criticism, including:
- no benefits for underprivileged students
- intentionally created as an alternative to the Common Application, and
- virtual locker seen a competitive tool, potentially causing more undue stress at an earlier age
Think about this: How is adding yet another tool to the already fragmented application process supposed to serve underrepresented students who have limited guidance and resources in the first place? The Coalition doesn’t seem to have an answer either.
The online planning tools, including the virtual locker, will be available April 2016. The application is scheduled for release in Summer 2016.