In 2015, a group of college administrators formed the Coalition for College.

Their goal was to solve a distinct problem: Each year, there are students who could qualify for admission at highly selective colleges but don’t attend — and in some cases don’t even apply — because they lack the necessary support to navigate the application and financial aid process.

The Coalition for College’s stated goals are to level the admissions playing field and improve the college application process for all students, but especially for those from under-represented groups, such as first-generation and low-income students. These students are more likely to attend under-resourced high schools with high student-to-counselor ratios. Without dedicated high school counselor support, these kids may be under-informed about the application process and need outside help to empower them to take control of their college path.

Today, the Coalition has aggregated 139 selective public and private colleges committed to admitting students from historically under-represented groups and graduating students with low to no debt. The Coalition created its own application — similar to the Common Application — and offers resources that guide students through the application process.  

“We built the Coalition around the idea that a student may not have someone in their school who can help them.”

— Annie Reznik

“We built the Coalition around the idea that a student may not have someone in their school who can help them,” says Annie Reznik, executive director of the Coalition for College. “And that is a fundamentally different way of approaching the college application process. It puts students in the position of answering all of the application questions without pulling someone else onboard.”

Since the Coalition isn’t familiar to everyone, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about it.

What colleges accept the Coalition Application?

For the 2019–20 academic year, there are 139 schools students can apply to using the Coalition Application, which can replace individual applications for participating colleges. All Coalition–affiliated institutions meet strict eligibility criteria for affordability, graduation rates and students’ success after college.  

How much does the Coalition Application cost?

There is no Coalition fee; however, application fees charged by individual institutions still apply. The good news is the Coalition will waive those fees for veterans and active military members, as well as low-income students who are eligible.

Determining eligibility is a quick and easy process that requires no verification. Students simply check “yes” or “no” to a series of questions, such as “Do you receive free or reduced lunch in school?” and “Do you participate in a TRIO program?” If eligible, students can bypass all individual college application fees. “It doesn’t require additional verification later,” says Reznik.

Is the Coalition only for low-income students?

No. While one of the main goals of the Coalition is to offer assistance to historically disadvantaged groups, such as low-income and under-resourced students, any student can use the Coalition Application or benefit from its college-prep resources.

What are the Coalition’s college-prep resources?

Starting in ninth grade, students can create an account on the Coalition website and then read expert-written articles, take webinars and download checklists to help them get prepared for college. They can also gain access to the MyCoalition Locker — an unlimited cloud-based storage system that offers students a secure digital space to store and organize documents, photos and videos. It’s an easy way to track achievements throughout high school and eventually pull from when completing college applications.  

“My vision is that it becomes a system that is adapted as part of a school-, district- or state-wide strategy toward encouraging all students to consider and apply for college,” Reznik continues. “I know college is not for everyone, but I think everyone should be empowered to make the choice about whether or not college is right for them.”