Since the beginning of the fall semester, Indiana, Georgia and Wisconsin have launched an innovative new program across most of its public colleges and universities to cast a broader net of potential students.
Ten states have now adopted their own form of direct admission program, which allows participating institutions to extend admission offers to students who have never applied. Colleges judge these unsuspecting candidates from test scores, course grades and areas of interest collected by their high school counselors. Most of the initiatives aim to help students who lack a strong belief in the potential of higher education to begin visualizing its benefits and the possibility of attending.
A study in 2022 found that following the implementation of direct admissions in Idaho, in-state enrollment increased by almost 12% over two years, AP News reports. Additionally, a study by Niche in partnership with 50 schools offering direct admission programs for students found that more than half of the admitted students were from underrepresented backgrounds, Axios reports.
Idaho established the first statewide direct admission program in 2015. New York and Minnesota each have similar programs in place as well. The three states join seven more across the country that have launched a form of direct admissions.
But the benefits of direct admissions should be approached with caution. Just because students automatically gain college admission does not mean they will enroll. While students were 12% more likely to submit a college application to schools that offered them direct admissions through the Common App, schools did not experience any significant increase in enrollment. The culprit: Despite their notice of admission, students are still turning away from college due to costs.
Georgia, however, is countering this narrative. In conjunction with its direct admissions program, the state has also implemented its HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Grant, which pays for four years of college or university tuition for students who graduate high school with a B average and maintain a B average in college.
“We’re going to make sure that they know there’s an opportunity for affordable, quality education out there for them in our own state,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, according to AP News.