Coalition formed to make college applications easy

By Shelby Tankersley

Over 80 schools across the country have formed the Coalition for College Access, Affordability and Success, which aims to improve the college application process for students applying to these institutions. On top of that, the schools plan to increase their numbers when they get started next spring.

The Coalition involves schools such as Yale, Dartmouth, Michigan State and Ohio State, along with many other esteemed universities seeking to make themselves more approachable. Big colleges and private universities often cost money to apply to, and the Coalition might change that.

The Coalition has developed free online tools that will assist in the college admission experience, and the initial platform will be available to all high school students starting in April of next year.

Our nation has been in the midst of an important public policy dialogue about whether college is affordable and whether it has value—can students, especially low- and moderate-income students, be successful and graduate without going deeply into debt? This Coalition helps to answer that question with a resounding YES,” according to the Coalition’s website.

The Coalition wants to keep its schools successful, so they are only accepting universities that have a graduation rate of over 70 percent within 6 years.  When they formed back in 2014, they only invited the best of the best, which is why so many of their schools are well established or Ivy League schools. As more schools grow, we can expect the Coalition to grow as well.

So, where does OU fit into this?

“Institutions were invited to join the Coalition if they experience a six-year graduation rate of over 70 percent. Oakland’s six-year graduation rate is currently 45.6 percent,” said Shane Lewis and Emily Stepanian-Bennett, who both work in admissions with OU, in an email interview in which they collaborated to answer the questions.

However, OU currently boasts a free and fairly simple application process, which is something not many successful schools are able to say.

“The undergraduate admission application here at Oakland is comparable in length to other moderately-selective institutions in the state. The application itself generally takes a student no more than thirty minutes to complete. If students choose to provide an essay the application may take longer to complete,” Lewis and Stepanian-Bennett said.

OU also experiences a fair amount of applications every year.

“The Undergraduate Admissions Office processes over 21,000 applications per year,” Lewis and Stepanian-Bennett said. “Other similarly-sized institutions in the state see comparable numbers.”

However, they believe the number of applications is due to high school students taking college more seriously, not necessarily because it is free.

This seriousness also happens to be one of the considerations the Coalition takes into mind. They aim to offer the platform to any high school student, which includes freshmen. One of their main goals is to allow students to get a head start on their futures.

In this competitive world, that just might not be a bad idea.