Colorado lawmakers push to overhaul college admissions

John Frank
·2 min read

Building on national trends, Colorado lawmakers are pushing two measures designed to break down barriers to accessing college.

The legislation being considered in the Democratic-led General Assembly includes:

  • Making the SAT and ACT tests optional for 2021 graduates applying to Colorado colleges and universities.

  • Prohibiting state schools from considering "legacy preferences" that give advantages to applicants whose family members attended the same institution.

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Why it matters: Together the bills represent a notable shift in how colleges and universities would evaluate prospective students. Both are designed to make it easier for low-income and first-generation applicants to make the cut.

  • "Let's look at the merits and make sure we aren't creating different paths for different people," said Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Northglenn Democratic bill sponsor and first-generation college graduate.

What they're saying: When it comes to the question about legacy admissions, the state's largest public university — University of Colorado Boulder — supports the change, Denver 7 reports.

  • If approved as expected, the bill sponsors believe it would be the first state law of its kind in the nation.

  • In other states, colleges have suggested a need to show preference to alumni because their financial donations are crucial amid declining state revenues.

Of note: The bill to make SAT and ACT admissions tests optional is also supported by Colorado colleges and universities but it's facing more resistance, according to Chalkbeat, an Axios reporting partner.

  • The bill's critics say it would remove an objective measure to evaluate student preparedness and only leaves the subjective GPA as a guide.

What's next: Both measures passed the House and await action in the Senate.

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