On Monday, Sept. 28, a coalition comprised of more than 80 prestigious public and private universities announced that they were designing a more streamlined college application service as an alternative to the ubiquitous Common Application currently in use. Among the goals of this new service is to make the college application a far easier experience for disadvantaged students.
This new service, to be unveiled this coming April, will be an online platform where students can store their schoolwork, access important information on colleges and universities as well as offer a place for useful advice on the college admission process. According to members of the coalition, this new online platform could potentially offset the little guidance many disadvantaged students receive during their high school years on getting into college. The coalition’s new platform would not be a full-fledged replacement to application services such as the Common Application, but rather an alternative.
In addition to this new online application platform, schools that are a part of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success promise to “offer an affordable education, promising low-cost, in-state tuition or to meet the full, demonstrated need of admitted domestic students,” according to the coalition's website. Among the 80 universities that are part of the coalition is the University of Connecticut.
The fact that UConn is supporting such an endeavor in an effort to aid students from a lower socioeconomic background shows a commitment to equal educational access, which all schools should demonstrate. While the utility of such a service and the extent to which these promises are to be fulfilled has yet to be seen, the fact that such a coalition exists brings recognition to the educational disparities that exist throughout the United States.
Higher education has often been seen as a chance for equality, especially with the numerous socioeconomic disparities that exist among secondary school systems throughout the country. From such disadvantaged districts come students who are high achieving with a low income.
According to a study by Caroline Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard, many of these students simply do not have access to or informational resources for more selective schools. Instead, they enroll in resource-poor two-year colleges or less selective universities, which may actually cost more than a selective institution that’s able to provide generous financial aid. The coalition’s new online platform, along with its stated goals, may offer a chance for these disadvantaged students to reach their potential and could help bridge the gap of higher education that divides the nation.