If you’re a high school senior — or the parent of a senior — you might want to keep an eye on your mailbox.
Over the next week, 20,213 high school seniors will get letters saying that they have been admitted to some or all of the state’s colleges and universities.
This is the third year of the State Board of Education’s direct admissions program, which is designed to encourage high school graduates to attend college, and stay in state.
All graduating seniors are pre-admitted to six schools that offer certificates or associate’s degrees: Idaho State University College of Technology, Lewis-Clark State College, College of Eastern Idaho, College of Southern Idaho, College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College. Students who meet GPA and college entrance exam benchmarks are also pre-admitted to Boise State University, Idaho State University and the University of Idaho.
Seniors still must apply before they can attend college next fall. However, by using the state’s Next Steps Idaho website, students can apply free of charge.
The direct admission program is one of several state initiatives designed to boost Idaho’s stagnant college go-on rates. And according to preliminary State Board numbers, the program could be encouraging college-bound students to stay in Idaho.
In 2016, 78 percent of college-bound graduates enrolled in Idaho colleges, up from 75 percent a year earlier.
The raw go-on numbers weren’t as encouraging, however. According to preliminary figures, 8,666 high school graduates went straight to college, down from 8,830 a year ago.
None of the 2016 numbers are final. They could change in the next few months.