By Rachel Williams, NACAC Communications

Arlington, VA (October 17, 2023) – Based on conversations from NACAC’s inaugural equity-focused convening of institutional leaders, the new Elevate Equity 2023 report offers guidance on how to build equitable admission and enrollment strategies based on current challenges affecting most higher education institutions.

These challenges include getting on the balcony – or finding time for leaders to observe equity initiatives at a high level – and adjusting long-standing institutional offices and practices as needed. The new report outlines challenges and opportunities specific to diversifying the staff of the admission office and faculty, rethinking selectivity and institutional requirements for admission, reducing the application burden; the handoff between admission and student affairs, and need-based financial aid. To combat these challenges, institutional leadership can consider:

  • Clearly defining and articulating strategic DEI goals for recruitment and enrollment, and aligning the institution at multiple points of contact, including DEI directors, enrollment, faculty, and co-curricular staff, and the central communications offices.
  • Providing a road map to a student pipeline, particularly for students currently missing from campus, to serve the institution over the next 20-30 years.
  • Training admission professionals in DEI and identifying ways to intentionally build a diverse admission office that reflects the population of students the institution serves.
  • Partnering with student organizations and marketing to current students about the admission profession as an employment option after college.
  • Rethinking admission requirements through an equity lens, including test-optional and test-free admission, reassessing math requirements, measuring students’ strengths across multiple measures, and creating a pilot program to explore alternative materials for admission consideration.
  • Simplifying the application, which is an immediate opportunity. Reducing the number of questions to only what is essential for making decisions can be considered, as well as reducing or eliminating application fees.

For additional recommendations, read the full Elevate Equity 2023 report, which was made possible by Lumina Foundation.

This report is based on the discussions institutional leaders had during a convening in Chicago in February 2023. This inaugural convening called Elevate Equity, was intended to continue the work and momentum of , a report published in January 2022 by NACAC and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), which reimagined college admission with racial equity as the primary goal. The institutional leaders at Elevate Equity came together to identify tangible steps to move toward the goals identified in the NACAC and NASFAA report.