Apr 16, 2021 - News

Colorado lawmakers push to overhaul college admissions process

Students walk under a bridge at University of Colorado

Students walk through the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Building on national trends, Colorado lawmakers are pushing two measures designed to break down barriers to accessing college.

The legislation being considered in the Democratic-led General Assembly includes:

  • Making the SAT and ACT tests optional for 2021 graduates applying to Colorado colleges and universities.
  • Prohibiting state schools from considering "legacy preferences" that give advantages to applicants whose family members attended the same institution.

Why it matters: Together the bills represent a notable shift in how colleges and universities would evaluate prospective students. Both are designed to make it easier for low-income and first-generation applicants to make the cut.

  • "Let's look at the merits and make sure we aren't creating different paths for different people," said Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Northglenn Democratic bill sponsor and first-generation college graduate.

What they're saying: When it comes to the question about legacy admissions, the state's largest public university — University of Colorado Boulder — supports the change, Denver 7 reports.

  • If approved as expected, the bill sponsors believe it would be the first state law of its kind in the nation.
  • In other states, colleges have suggested a need to show preference to alumni because their financial donations are crucial amid declining state revenues.

Of note: The bill to make SAT and ACT admissions tests optional is also supported by Colorado colleges and universities but it's facing more resistance, according to Chalkbeat, an Axios reporting partner.

  • The bill's critics say it would remove an objective measure to evaluate student preparedness and only leaves the subjective GPA as a guide.

What's next: Both measures passed the House and await action in the Senate.


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