Colleges and universities work together for affordable and accessible higher ed

( (c) Ad Meskins / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Columbia University, located in the upper east side of Manhattan, is one of the participants in the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success. (c) Ad Meskins / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Over 80 American colleges are working together to create a single application for the convenience and affordability of students applying to college. The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success is an alliance that shares “a commitment to providing students with the best possible college experience, beginning with the college application process,” according to the groups’ website

The coalition’s objective is to offer economical and manageable in-state tuition for both public and private schools.

The website provides students with tools to help with  college applications, beginning years in advance. With the help of the site, students will be able to ask for guidance from college admissions offices and will be able to produce digital portfolios with help from instructors and counselors.

Included in the coalition are prestigious private universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Brown. Among the respected public universities are University of Virginia, Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University.

These schools united to remedy an issue that researchers have noted for years, that  complicated admissions processes discourage students from applying and those students from low-income families are not able to afford the help that students from wealthier families can.

“This is a free tool that will be open to counselors in those types of schools and even in community-based organizations,” said Zina Evans, the vice president for enrollment management at the University of Florida, one of the colleges in the coalition.”

Lately, the United States has been in the middle of a debate about whether college is currently affordable. Can students, particularly those with lower income, achieve success in college and graduate without acquiring too much debt?

“We have come to the conclusion that we can have a much bigger impact on student success and completion if we work together,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale, Jeremiah Quinlan.

While the site is not yet active for the class of 2016, it will be available in January 2016 for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

Photo credit: by Ad Meskens (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons