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The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success

One of the ongoing debates in the world of college admissions is how to make the entire process more affordable, especially to families in lower income brackets.  The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (CAAS), a diverse group with more than 90 colleges and universities, is aiming to offer a more affordable education to students.  The Coalition is providing a single focused set of resources to help students to organize and develop their college applications.  It will be free for students, families, counselors and high schools to use, and it continues to add high profile colleges as members.

New college planning tools, meant to streamline the admissions and financial aid processes, will include the College Locker, set to become available this April.  The Locker will provide a private space for students to gather work they’ve accomplished on their high school journeys, from strong essays to volunteering photos to videos from extracurricular competitions they engaged in along the way.  Colleges will not have access to the Locker while students are making choices about how to represent themselves, but students will be able to share their Locker with counselors, teachers, and other adults they choose to.  Eventually, the Locker is intended to become the Coalition’s Collaboration Platform, a shared meeting place where counselors and teachers can support students by offering feedback and editing.  The final piece of the puzzle, the Coalition Application portal itself,is scheduled to become available this July, 2016. Here, rising seniors will be able to maintain a detailed list of their colleges, review admissions requirements of each school, and submit materials before school deadlines. 

Currently many Coalition schools have agreed to accept applications starting this summer, although others are in the process of deciding exactly when and how to use this new application system.  But it’s important to note that there is not a distinct advantage to using the new Coalition Application over the more well-known Common Application. Colleges that accept both will not have a preference.  The long list of Common app schools that have already joined the Coalition includes Brown, Caltech, Chicago, Claremont McKenna, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Georgia Tech., Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, Northeastern, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn, Pomona, Purdue, Rice, Stanford, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Wash U., Wesleyan, Williams, and Yale. However, three prominent public universities – Florida, Maryland, and Washington – will be using the Coalition app exclusively.

While the Coalition plans to go into full effect this coming application season, it seems probable that it will be used by many more people starting the following year as everyone becomes increasingly familiar with this new process.  As we gather more information, we will update families accordingly so that you have all the knowledge needed to navigate the CAAS.In the meantime, students will find CAAS affiliated colleges marked with a “C” on their tentative college lists in the portal.  As always, students may direct any additional questions to their Insight counselor. 


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