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Eligibility Criteria for Members

To fulfill our mission to increase college access, affordability, and success for all students—particularly those from historically under-represented groups—the Coalition has strict eligibility criteria for our member schools.

Coalition member colleges and universities must provide substantial support to lower-income, under-resourced and/or first-generation students; offer responsible student financial aid; and demonstrate a commitment to student graduation.

By meeting these rigorous standards, our members prove that they are dedicated to improving the college application process and to promoting access to higher education, making them smart college choices.

Overview of Coalition Eligibility Criteria

Contents

Commitments to Access, Affordability, and Success

Access

  • Open to students of all backgrounds: cultural, socio–economic, and geographic
  • Engage significant under-served and under-resourced populations

Affordability

  • Offer In–State Tuition or
  • Meet Full Demonstrated Need and/or
  • Graduate their students with Low to No Debt and Low Loan Default rates

Success

  • Achieve High Graduation Rates, including strong rates for low income and under–represented students

Membership Eligibility Overview

  • Achieve high marks in at least two of our three areas of emphasis (access, affordability, success) with no qualifying school falling outside an acceptable range on the third area, based on defined performance boundaries
  • Ensure local access for all students; every state is represented in the Coalition by at least one public university as well as all four–year colleges and universities that meet the metrics that follow

Minimum Qualifying* Criteria

Access

  • Percentage of under–represented or low income students enrolled greater than or equal to 10% (NCES: IPEDS)

Affordability

  • Title IV Debt < $30,000 (College Scorecard Data: National Student Loan Data System)
  • Loan Default Rate 15% or less (Cohort Default Rates: Office of Federal Student Aid)

Success

  • Graduation Rate 60% or higher (NCES: IPEDS)
  • Under–represented or low income student Graduation Rate > 50% (NCES: IPEDS and National Student Loan Data System)

*If a state has no qualifying four–year public universities, its public university with the highest metrics on these standards is automatically invited.

Membership Eligibility = at least 2 of the following 3 areas

Access

  • Percentage of enrolled under–represented students equal to or above 20% (NCES: IPEDS) or
  • Percentage of enrolled low income students (Pell) equal to or above 20% (NCES: IPEDS)

Affordability

  • Meet full need (stated on school website) (Common Data Set definition via TICAS CollegeInsight or Big Future) or
  • Have affordable in–state tuition (NCES: IPEDS) or
  • Median Title IV debt equal to or below $25,000 (College Scorecard Data: National Student Loan Data System) or
  • Loan default rate equal to or below 9% (Cohort Default Rates: Office of Federal Student Aid)

Success

  • 70% or greater graduation rate (NCES: IPEDS) or
  • Low income (Pell) student graduation rate equal to or greater than the school's overall graduation rate (College Scorecard Data: National Student Loan Data System) or
  • Under–represented student graduation rate equal to or greater than the school's overall graduation rate (NCES: IPEDS)

For more information or to apply for Coalition membership, please contact us.

Overview of Coalition eligibility criteria (PDF) »