Attention seniors: College ‘direct admissions’ paperwork is on the way

For nearly 20,000 high school seniors, direct admissions season is getting under way.

The State Board of Education will mail out postcards this week, telling seniors to watch out for direct admissions letters in the weeks to come. The letters tell seniors that they are guaranteed admission to some or all of Idaho’s two- or four-year colleges, depending on their high school grades.

Students are pre-approved, but they still must fill out a free college application on the State Board’s Next Steps Idaho website, starting on Oct. 1.

Since 2015, the State Board has sent out direct admissions letters to seniors. It’s one of several initiatives that the state has launched — some at nominal cost, others at costs in the tens of millions of dollars — in hopes of encouraging students to continue their education beyond high school.

Idaho’s college go-on rates have been stagnant, and the state’s postsecondary completion numbers lag far below the state’s lofty “60 percent goal.”

Last year, about 10,700 seniors used the Next Steps website to apply to college. That comprises about 47 percent of the state’s senior class. On average, these students applied to three colleges apiece.

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