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Direct Admissions Legislative Information


Direct Admissions Minnesota is a partnership project between K-12 and higher education, led by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. During the 2023 Legislative session, the program secured $1.3 million in funding to continue to expand the initiative over the 2024-25 biennium.

Currently, significant disparities in educational attainment exist for Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. These disparities occur throughout the education pathway. Direct Admissions Minnesota has great potential to reduce equity gaps by providing important college-going information to high school students, and eliminating the need for extensive college-going knowledge to navigate the college admissions process.
Direct Admissions aims to reduce self-selection bias and reduce equity gaps in college enrollment using four strategies:

  • Promoting a college-going culture,
  • Connecting students, families, and schools with colleges and universities earlier, giving families time to consider their options and plan,
  • Easing the transition from high school to college, and
  • Showing students that they have access to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree if they choose to further their education.

Legislative Reports

The Office of Higher Education published its Direct Admissions Annual Report, outlining the development and implementation of the Direct Admissions pilot program. The report includes information about the program design, implementation challenges and recommendations, outcomes, and the feasibility of scaling the program to all public high schools.

Historical Background on Direct Admissions

The Office of Higher Education implemented Direct Admissions Minnesota during the 2022-2023 academic year. The first group of seniors received letters in fall of 2022. During Spring of 2022, the project focused on establishing a pilot program with a limited number of high schools and districts to assess the work required for participating schools, funding requirements, and technology needs.

This type of program has worked successfully in other states. Direct Admissions was first implemented by Idaho in 2016. The program was successful in reversing declining postsecondary enrollments and reducing out-of-state migration. In addition to Idaho, South Dakota began proactive admissions for the high school class of 2018 (South Dakota Department of Education, 2019). In 2019, Illinois passed legislation to develop a pilot program for the 2020-2021 academic year to automatically admit high-performing Illinois high school graduates to targeted four-year public colleges.

Results for Idaho demonstrate that the program increases the number of students applying for and enrolling at both two-year and four-year colleges immediately after high school, both overall and within the state. Delaney et al. (2019) found that Idaho's implementation of direct admissions was associated with a statistically significant increase in undergraduate enrollment of 11.0% at the institutional level, as well as institutional increases in in-state enrollment between 11.1% to 16.3%. Similarly, direct admissions was associated with a statistically-significant, statewide increase in full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of 11.3%.

Minnesota Resources


Delaney, J., González Canché, M., and Odle, T. (2018).Direct Admissions, Investigating a low cost promising policy innovation to increase college access & equity. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Forum on the Future of Public Education. Retrieved January 4, 2022. 

Howell, C., Mehl, A., Pennington, J., Pontius, J., & Kock, S. (2019). Using SLDS data to support college admissions. Boise, ID: Idaho State Board of Education. Retrieved January 18, 2022.