Minnesota expands higher education opportunities for students

Direct Admissions program aims to promote college access, boost degree attainment and reduce equity gaps.

ST. PAUL — On Sept. 29 Gov. Tim Walz announced that the Minnesota Office of Higher Education is launching Direct Admissions, a new program designed to promote college access.

Driven by the belief that every student is “college material,” the program ensures that graduating high school students know they qualify for admission to a variety of Minnesota colleges and universities. The program also eliminates the application fee for participating colleges and universities.

“As a former teacher, I know the college admissions process can be overwhelming for students,” said Walz in a press release. “We are committed to removing barriers and making higher education more accessible for students in Minnesota, and this includes making sure students know all the opportunities and options available to them.”

“Ensuring students in Minnesota receive a world-class education means equipping our students with the resources and support they need to pursue higher education,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in a press release. “I’m grateful to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for spearheading this program which expands opportunities and reduces equity gaps in college enrollment.”

Launching this fall, class of 2023 seniors from more than 40 selected Minnesota high schools will be notified of their college options in the state. Students create a personalized list from over 50 Minnesota participating colleges and universities and then are notified of admission based on their academic records through junior year and projected graduation date. Once notified, students then complete a free admissions application for each of the colleges and universities they are interested in attending. Participating colleges include a full range of community, technical, tribal, public, and private institutions.


“We want Minnesota high school seniors to know they are college ready, and they have multiple options in our state,” said Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson said in a press release. “Our goal is to reduce anxiety around the traditional college admissions process and allow students to apply with confidence.”

Significant disparities in educational attainment exist for Minnesota's Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Direct Admissions has potential to reduce equity gaps by providing important college-going information to high school students and eliminating the need for extensive college-going knowledge to navigate the complex college admissions process. The program aims to reduce self-selection bias and reduce equity gaps in college enrollment using three strategies:

  • Connecting students, families and schools with colleges and universities earlier, giving families time to consider their options and plan.
  • Easing the transition from high school to college.
  • Showing students that they have access to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree if they choose to further their education.

Direct Admissions Minnesota is a partnership project between K-12 and higher education, led by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Funding was secured by the 2021 Minnesota Legislative session.
For more information, visit the Office of Higher Education website at .

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