Applications nearly tripled with waiver of application fee
Applications to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities skyrocketed over a year ago during the first-ever National College Application Week, an initiative to increase access to college, particularly for students from groups underrepresented in higher education.
Nearly 10,000 high school students submitted 15,600 applications to the 31 state colleges and universities, compared to 4,900 students who submitted about 5,500 applications during the same week in 2010.
“This initiative was tremendously successful,” said Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “Collaboration clearly encouraged more high school students to apply to college, and we look forward to welcoming them to our campuses as freshmen this fall.”
Each college and university waived its $20 application fee from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18, resulting in the colleges and universities collectively forgoing about $300,000 in revenue. Students could complete one application and submit it simultaneously to more than one Minnesota state college or university, a service that had not been available before this year.
Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Minnesota College Application Week as part of a national initiative by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The week provided a framework for high schools and postsecondary institutions to collaborate in a concentrated push to engage underrepresented students in applying for college and to highlight college and career readiness programs throughout the state.
Increasing the number of Minnesotans who complete a college degree, certificate or diploma is more important than ever, Rosenstone said. By 2018, 70 percent of all jobs in Minnesota will require some postsecondary education, according to a Georgetown University study. And many of those jobs will require a certificate or associate degree, not a baccalaureate degree, he added.
Seventeen Minnesota high schools served as pilot sites for the drive but many more high schools participated. Pilot high schools were asked to dedicate time during that week for seniors to complete a college application with assistance from trained staff and volunteers. Many volunteers included staff from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
“We encourage parents, teachers, counselors and other adults in these young people’s lives to keep supporting them in their final preparation for college,” Rosenstone said. “During the last semester in high school they should take rigorous courses in mathematics, English and science.”
Minnesota’s 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 420,000 students across the state.