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Francesca Kelly writes frequently for the



on education issues relevant to the Foreign

Service community.


s if life weren’t

already con-

fusing enough

between uni-

versities’ own

applications for

admission and

the Common

App, we now have—ta-da—the Coali-

tion Application, a free online college

application platform developed by the

Coalition for Access, Affordability and

Success, a membership group of col-

leges and universities.

The Coalition App has been variously

described as an application designed for

low-income and first-generation college

applicants; as a way to round out the

application so it tells colleges more about

their applicants; and as an alternative

to the Common Application, which has

admittedly held somewhat of a monopoly

What Is the

Coalition App?

There’s a new college application platform on the block.

Most schools aren’t using it exclusively yet, but underclassmen may want

to set up an account and test its unique new Locker feature.


on the application business.

Launched just a few months ago,

the Coalition App is only required by

one school for the 2016-2017 academic

year—the University of Florida. Other

schools, all members of the Coalition,

offer it; but they do so alongside their

own or the Common Application so that

applicants have a choice. About half of

the Coalition membership schools are

taking a wait-and-see approach.

Although it’s too early to tell how

well the Coalition App works, high

school students should investigate this

new player in the college applications

game; and students applying to the

University of Florida have no choice but

to get to know it.

Access, Affordability and


The Coalition for Access, Afford-

ability and Success sprang out of

discussions among elite institutions

about accessibility to higher educa-

tion for all, leading to the development

of the Application by administrators

from Emory, Smith and the University

of Maryland. The Coalition now has

95 members, including all of the Ivy

League universities, as well as other

prestigious institutions.

College admissions officers have

long observed the difference between

students who receive help with their

applications—typically wealthier stu-

dents at better-equipped high schools—

and those who are disadvantaged in

some way vis-à-vis the college applica-

tion process, either by being first-gener-

ation applicants or coming from schools

with few resources to assist them.

The Coalition sought to create a col-

lege admissions atmosphere that was

friendlier to minority and low-income

students. The technical problems that

wreaked havoc after the 2013 Common

App revisions added momentum to the

desire to create an alternative platform.

And so CAAS was born.

To be a Coalition member, schools

must graduate at least 70 percent of