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Governor Walz: Nearly 24,000 State High School Seniors Will Benefit from Direct Admissions in Second Year of Pilot Program

Pilot program proactively admits qualified high school seniors to participating colleges and universities



[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced that the state’s Direct Admissions program that removes financial barriers has expanded higher education opportunities for over 23,600 high school seniors across Minnesota this year. The program, launched in 2022 and administered through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE), ensures that graduating high school students know they qualify for admission to a variety of Minnesota colleges and universities. Participating colleges proactively notify high school seniors that they have been guaranteed admission based on their academic records and waive the application fee.

Last year, 40 high schools in Minnesota participated in the pilot program. This year, 129 high schools have opted in, with a total of 23,684 high school seniors now being considered for proactive admission from 55 colleges and universities in the 2023-24 academic year.

“Higher education is one of the greatest tickets towards economic growth and opportunity, but as a former teacher, I know the college admissions process can be a daunting process for students,” said Governor Walz. “By making sure students know all of their options and waiving the cost to apply to schools, we are removing barriers and making higher education accessible for more students than ever across the state.”

“High schools across Minnesota are filled with bright, young minds that represent the future of our state, but not all of these students are equipped with the resources and support they need to pursue higher education,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We can’t let students miss out on higher education opportunities because they can’t afford an application or don’t know if they would qualify. I am grateful our Direct Admissions program is removing these barriers and expanding opportunities for more students.”

“We know that earning a degree or credential after high school is the gateway to greater career options and higher lifetime earning potential, yet declining enrollment trends persist,” OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson said. “Direct Admissions helps every high school senior in the state to see themselves as college material by letting them know which colleges are ready to admit them. By removing the stigma, fear, and cost in the application process, we hope to reverse trends and see more students enroll in higher education every year.”

Currently in a pilot program phase, high schools and colleges are able to opt in to participate. The first two years of the pilot program are funded through a 2022 investment of $1 million from Governor Walz and the Legislature. The 2023 Higher Education Omnibus Bill, which passed the Minnesota House and Senate last week, includes $1.15 million in ongoing funding for statewide implementation. The Governor expects to receive and sign the bill this week.

The list of 2023-24 participating high schools includes:

  • 622 Online High School – Online Program
  • AGAPE High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Academic Excellence Online High School – Duluth, MN
  • Albert Lea Senior High School – Albert Lea, MN
  • SPPS Gateway to College – St. Paul, MN
  • Apollo Senior High School – St. Cloud, MN
  • Austin Online Academy – Austin, MN
  • Austin Senior High School – Austin, MN
  • Banaadir Secondary School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Barnesville Secondary School – Barnesville, MN
  • Blooming Prairie Secondary School – Blooming Prairie, MN
  • Blue Earth Area Secondary School – Blue Earth, MN
  • Brandon-Evansville High School – Brandon, MN
  • Buffalo Senior High School – Buffalo, MN
  • Cannon Falls Secondary School – Cannon Falls, MN
  • Centennial High School – Circle Pines, MN
  • Central Senior High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Century Senior High School – Rochester, MN
  • Chanhassen High School – Chanhassen, MN
  • Chaska High School – Chaska, MN
  • Clearbrook-Gonvick Secondary School – Clearbrook, MN
  • Cloquet Senior High School – Cloquet, MN
  • Como Park Senior High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Creative Arts Secondary School – St. Paul, MN
  • CVA Fusion High School – St. Paul, MN
  • CVA PASCAL Middle & High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Denfeld High School – Duluth, MN
  • Detroit Lakes Senior High School – Detroit Lakes, MN
  • Duluth Area Learning Center – Duluth, MN
  • East Grand Forks Senior High School – East Grand Forks, MN
  • East High School – Duluth, MN
  • East Ridge High School – East Ridge, MN
  • Eden Prairie Senior High School – Eden Prairie, MN
  • Edina Senior High School – Edina, MN
  • Edison High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Fairview Alternative High School – Roseville, MN
  • Fertile-Beltrami Secondary School – Fertile, MN
  • GFW High School – Winthrop, MN
  • Goodhue Secondary School – Goodhue, MN
  • Gordon Parks High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Harding Senior High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Harrison Education Center – Minneapolis, MN
  • Hawley Secondary School – Hawley, MN
  • Henning Secondary School – Henning, MN
  • Heritage Academy High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Highland Park Senior High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Hmong College Prep Academy High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Hopkins Senior High School – Hopkins, MN
  • Houston Secondary School – Houston, MN
  • Humboldt High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Insight School of Minnesota – Brooklyn Center, MN
  • Integrated Arts Academy – Chaska, MN
  • Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy – Maple Lake, MN
  • Jefferson Senior High School – Bloomington, MN
  • John Marshall Senior High School – Rochester, MN
  • Johnson Senior High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Jordan High School – Jordan, MN
  • Kennedy High School – Fergus Falls, MN
  • Kennedy Senior High School - Bloomington, MN
  • Lakes International Language Academy Upper School – Forest Lake, MN
  • LEAP High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Lewiston-Altura Secondary School – Lewiston, MN
  • Mankato East Senior High School – Mankato, MN
  • Mankato West Senior High School – Mankato, MN
  • Maple River Secondary School – Maple River, MN
  • Mayo Senior High School – Rochester, MN
  • Medford Secondary School – Medford, MN
  • Milaca Secondary High School – Milaca, MN
  • Minnesota Online High School – Online Program
  • Minnesota Virtual Academy High School – Online Program
  • Minnetonka Senior High School – Minnetonka, MN
  • Minnewaska Secondary School – Minnewaska, MN
  • MTS High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • New Code Academy High School – Bloomington, MN
  • North Senior High School – North St. Paul, MN
  • Northland Secondary School – Remer, MN
  • Open World Learning Secondary School – St. Paul, MN
  • Orono Senior High School – Orono, MN
  • PACT Charter Secondary School – Ramsey, MN
  • Park High School – Cottage Grove, MN
  • Parnassus Preparatory School-Rhetoric – Maple Grove, MN
  • Pequot Lakes Senior High School – Pequot Lakes, MN
  • PIM Arts High School – Eden Prairie, MN
  • Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School – Plainview, MN
  • Prairie Seeds High School Academy – Brooklyn Park, MN
  • Prior Lake High School – Prior Lake, MN
  • Quora Secondary School – Little Canada, MN
  • Red Lake County Central High School – Oklee, MN
  • Red Lake Secondary School – Red Lake, MN
  • Red Rock Central Secondary School – Lamberton, MN
  • Richfield Senior High School – Richfield, MN
  • Robbinsdale Armstrong Senior High School – Robbinsdale, MN
  • Robbinsdale Virtual Academy – Robbinsdale, MN
  • Rockford Secondary School – Rockford, MN
  • Roosevelt High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Roseville Area Senior High School – Roseville, MN
  • Sacred Heart Academy – Robbinsdale, MN
  • SAGE Academy Charter School – Brooklyn Park, MN
  • Saint Paul Online High School – St. Paul, MN
  • Sebeka Secondary School – Sebeka, MN
  • Sejong Academy Upper School – St. Paul, MN
  • Shakopee High School – Shakopee, MN
  • Sibley East-Arlington Senior High School – Arlington, MN
  • Simley Senior High School – Inver Grove Heights, MN
  • South St. Paul High School – South St. Paul, MN
  • South Washington Alternative High School – Cottage Grove, MN
  • SoWashCo Online High School – Online Program
  • Spring Grove Secondary School – Spring Lake Grove, MN
  • Spring Lake Park Senior High School – Spring Lake Park, MN
  • St. Louis Park Senior High School – St. Louis Park, MN
  • St. Peter High School – St. Peter, MN
  • Staples-Motley Senior High School – Staples, MN
  • SWMetro ALC – Chaska, MN
  • Tartan Senior High School – Oakdale, MN
  • Technical Senior High School – St. Cloud, MN
  • TrekNorth High School – Bemidji, MN
  • United South Central High School – Wells, MN
  • Venture Academy High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Verndale Secondary School – Verndale, MN
  • VOA High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Wadena-Deer Creek Senior High School – Wadena, MN
  • Warroad High School – Warroad, MN
  • Waseca Area Learning Center – Waseca, MN
  • Waseca Senior High School – Waseca, MN
  • Washburn High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Washington Tech Secondary Magnet School – St. Paul, MN
  • Watershed High School - Richfield, MN
  • Watertown-Mayer High School – Watertown, MN
  • Woodbury High School – Woodbury, MN
  • Zumbrota-Mazeppa Senior High School – Zumbrota, MN

For more information on Direct Admissions Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website.

Richfield High School Student Testimonials from the first year of the Direct Admissions pilot program:

Kharisma Naidu
I can say that Direct Admissions helped me feel less stressed with my college application process,” said Richfield High School senior Kharisma Naidu. “Being the first generation in my family, and an only child, made me explore higher education independently with no training wheels .”

Since Kharisma’s parents didn’t go to college, she was unfamiliar with the application process. “Direct Admissions has been very beneficial for my family and me since it reassures us of my acceptance to one of many colleges that I have been interested in. Now that I know these colleges have already accepted me, I can start my application process stress-free without wondering if I will get in.

Elsy Cruz Parra
Richfield High School senior Elsy Cruz says the Direct Admissions program means a lot to her. “As a first-generation student and the oldest in my family, it gave me a sense of relief to know I am already admitted to my top colleges.” Cruz was amazed with how many colleges were on her list. She said she had a feeling that “all my hard work paid off!”

Ashley Lucero
Ashley is a first-generation college attendee and says her plan has always been to attend college, as a personal goal and as something her parents have always wanted her to do. She also has a list of her top five colleges, and of those, four of them are on her Direct Admissions list. Ashley said that before Direct Admissions, she was stressed about college applications. “Since we got that email, I’m relaxed because I know which colleges I got into,” she said.

Ashely also remembers coming home and seeing her dad’s face after he had received her Direct Admissions letter. “I saw his face and he was smiling. And then he said, ‘I’m so proud.’ I played it cool, but I was screaming inside. I was literally going to cry because my parents and family and friends all said they were proud of me .”

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