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Data shows that Direct Admissions results in higher in-state college enrollment and FAFSA filing rates



St. Paul, Minn.— A new report shows that the state’s Direct Admissions program is having an impact on increasing in-state enrollment and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filing rates for Minnesota high school graduates. According to the data, for students participating in Direct Admissions, 50 percent enrolled in a Minnesota college or university and 77 percent completed the FAFSA. When looking at high school students who did not participate in Direct Admissions, only 26 percent enrolled in an in-state institution and 51 percent completed the FAFSA.  

“When I look at this report, one thing is clear: Direct Admissions is working,” Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson said. “This program is changing the conversation around higher education in Minnesota, helping every student see themselves as college material. Whether a student chooses to pursue a diploma, certificate, two-year program, or four-year program, Direct Admissions allows us to connect each student to the institution best suited to help them achieve their dreams.”

Now in its second year as a pilot program, Direct Admissions simplifies the process of applying to college by proactively informing students about which participating colleges and universities are committed to admitting them, based on their academic records through the end of the junior year. At the beginning of their senior year, students at participating high schools receive a personalized letter with their list of colleges and universities that they can select from to apply to or get more information from. Participating colleges and universities agree to waive application fees for Direct Admissions students, allowing a allowing students to apply for free without the anxiety of wondering whether they will get accepted.

The new data comes from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education’s (OHE) 2023-24 Direct Admissions Annual Legislative Report. The report provides insights into the first pilot year of the program, with nearly 2,000 students at 36 high schools participating. In addition to increased in-state enrollment and higher FAFSA filing rates, the report also shows equitable outcomes when disaggregated by gender, race and ethnicity, and eligibility for free or reduced-price meals.

Currently, 119 state high schools and 55 Minnesota colleges and universities are participating in Direct Admissions. OHE staff continue working to ensure geographic representation, and currently 37 counties in the state have at least one high school participating in the program.

In preparation for the 2024-25 academic year, OHE is currently inviting new high schools to join the program. OHE staff hope to support 200 high schools for the third year of the program, with a long-term goal of expanding the program to every high school in the state.

For high school staff interested in learning more about how to participate in Direct Admissions, please complete the Interest Form at: Direct Admissions High School Interest Form ( The interest form will be open until the end of March 2024.

Click to access the full 2023-24 Direct Admissions report: Direct Admissions Report, 2024 (

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