More than $3 million awarded to transform how students get into college

INDIANAPOLIS – In response to the evolving landscape of college admissions, Lumina Foundation has announced the winners of The Great Admissions Redesign. This challenge seeks to revolutionize the admissions process and increase accessibility to higher education for all students, particularly those not admitted in proportion to their shares of the U.S. population.

“COVID, shifting testing requirements, and legal rulings have caused significant disruptions in college admissions,” said Melanie Heath, strategy director at Lumina. “This moment presents a unique opportunity to reimagine how we engage with prospective students and enhance their college experiences. We were thrilled with the number of applicants seeking resources to support their ideas on reshaping and simplifying the admissions process.”

After reviewing more than 70 applications and using criteria including a commitment to ensuring fair outcomes for Black and brown students, simplicity, and innovation, Lumina is awarding a total of $3.1 million in implementation and planning grants to the following institutions:

Implementation Grants

  • Illinois Board of Higher Education—Awarded $750,000 to directly admit community college transfer students and high school seniors statewide to Illinois universities.
  • California State University System—Awarded $750,000 to automate admissions to the CSU system and support verified transcript submission through California’s college and career readiness platform,
  • Northern Arizona University—Awarded $750,000 to expand its universal admissions program with nine Arizona community college districts.

Planning Grants

  • Louisiana Board of Regents—Awarded $300,000 to prepare to automate admissions for students using Louisiana’s universal transfer pathway and for high school seniors.
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board—Awarded $250,000 to develop direct admissions pathways for Texas students using the state’s college and career readiness platform,
  • Washington Student Achievement Council—Awarded $150,000 to prepare a proactive admissions process integrating financial aid eligibility.
  • Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education—Awarded $150,000 to align existing initiatives toward a simplified admissions process for Kentucky students and to consider the use of AI in admissions offices to alleviate capacity issues.

These grants support initiatives that streamline admissions procedures, reduce barriers to admissions, and promote inclusivity. Recipients will work toward enhancing the transparency and accessibility of the admissions process while addressing the needs of diverse student populations.

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