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Augsburg Outpaces Other Minnesota Schools in Diversity Growth, Business Journal Reports

Augsburg University experienced the largest percent increase in nonwhite students among any college or university in Minnesota over the past decade, according to data analyzed by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. The analysis looked at institutions with more than 1,000 students using data from the Department of Education. 

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow was interviewed about the changes. “We are still a predominantly white institution in terms of structure and leadership, though that’s changing,” he said. “So we’ve had to do a lot of important training and intercultural work, knowing that these students are coming to us [with] a very different life experience. And they come to us with different kinds of needs and expectations.”

He attributed much of the growth in Augsburg’s diversity to its relationships with local high schools. Nearly 70% of Augsburg’s most recent entering undergraduate class identified as nonwhite.

Read more from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal: With college affirmative action in the balance, these Minnesota schools have made big strides in diversity

Augsburg Represents Minnesota in Common App Direct Admissions Pilot

Today, Common App announced the 2022-2023 launch of its direct admissions pilot, which aims to flip the script on college admissions and offer proactive admission to college-interested students. 

“Direct admissions is about changing the narrative of a college education from one of scarcity to one of opportunity,  by ensuring students know that college opportunity is an abundant resource—and one that’s available to them,” said Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of Common App. “No waiting, no wondering if the institution is looking for a specific set of characteristics. While we’re still in the early stages of this pilot, we’re excited about the potential of this work to help more students pursue a college education.”

Common App has piloted a direct admissions program since 2021, offering admission to students who created a Common App account and provided enough academic information– but had not yet completed all of their open applications. The latest iteration of the pilot offered admission to 18,000 students at six participating institutions, and over 800 students accepted the offer. Results showed the impacts of the intervention were strongest for Black or African American, Latinx, and first-generation students. 

For the third round of the pilot, Common App and 14 participating institutions reached out to nearly 30,000 students with direct admission offers. Augsburg is the only school in Minnesota selected to participate in this year’s pilot. 

“Our institutional commitments to equity and inclusion require that we work to transform inequitable systems in higher education,” said Robert Gould, Augsburg’s vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We jumped at the opportunity to pilot direct admissions through the Common App as part of a comprehensive new approach we call Augsburg Applies to You.

“Moving away from a gatekeeper model of admissions means we can connect with students who thought college was out of reach. It gives our counselors more capacity to support students through the college selection process and cultivate a sense of belonging even before they set foot on campus.”

About Augsburg

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to approximately 3,200 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. To learn more, visit augsburg.edu/about.

About Common App

Common App is a not-for-profit member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Each year, more than one million students, one-third of whom are first-generation, apply to college through the Common App’s online application. In January 2019, the Common App united with Reach Higher, the college access and success campaign started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House. By joining forces, Common App and Reach Higher accelerated progress toward our joint goal of supporting all students, especially low-income and first-generation students, in achieving their higher education dreams. Founded in 1975, Common App serves over 1,000 member colleges and universities worldwide. To learn more, visit commonapp.org and follow @CommonApp and #CommonApp on social media.

Podcast: Augsburg Enrollment Leaders Talk College Access

Headshots of Robert Gould and Stephanie Ruckel on a green and orange background with white text reading, "Enrollment Edge: the enrollmentFUEL podcast. Episode 45: Robert Gould & Stephanie Ruckel"Robert Gould, vice president for strategic enrollment management, and Stephanie Ruckel, director of admissions operations, joined host Jay Fedje as featured guests on a recent episode of the Enrollment Edge podcast by enrollmentFUEL. 

The episode focused on the power of direct admissions—a simplified approach in which students are admitted based on high school GPA, in some cases before they have even applied—to break down college access barriers. 

“Essentially, what we’re trying to do is remove as many barriers as we can for students, and give them the most options to enroll in whatever institution is a good place for them,” said Ruckel. “When you start thinking about the student’s perspective, you can start questioning the [admissions] process a little bit differently. Why are we requiring these things? How are we using this data? Are we using this information? 

“The challenge in doing this is really stripping down the application—making sure we are collecting what we need to collect, but keeping it as simple as possible.”

Augsburg’s participation in pilot programs with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Common App, as well as significant changes to the Augsburg application itself, puts the university at the leading edge of this new policy movement. 

“I want to credit the whole team,” said Gould. “We’ve literally taken the admissions process and the system and changed it in one cycle. We had some good thoughts about how it fulfilled our mission as an enrollment division, but I think more importantly, people had the appetite for it—wanting to build deeper relationships and wanting to eliminate barriers for all students.”

Listen to the episode here: Direct Admission: Unpacking College Access

The Wall Street Journal Highlights Augsburg’s Admissions Approach

The Wall Street Journal wordmark in black text.The Wall Street Journal highlighted Augsburg’s efforts to streamline and simplify the admissions process in a recent article about the growth of direct admissions. 

“Augsburg University in Minnesota is participating in direct-admission pilots with the Common Application and with the state of Minnesota, and cut its own application to be completed in an average of seven minutes,” noted reporter Melissa Korn. 

The piece quotes a Richfield high school senior who received several college offers through Direct Admissions Minnesota, the state’s pilot program. Augsburg has already connected with 184 students through the state pilot, nearly half of whom weren’t previously on the school’s radar. As of early November, the shift to direct admissions has accompanied a 44% increase in applications over last year.  

Read the full article in: More Colleges Offering Admission to Students Who Never Applied

Augsburg “Isn’t Waiting” on Direct Admissions, Reports Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed logo, white letters on orange backgroundInside Higher Ed recently featured Augsburg in a piece on the growth of direct admissions. While the article cites Minnesota as one of the states with the most movement toward direct admissions this year, Augsburg stands out for its comprehensive move away from traditional admissions practices. 

“Augsburg admissions counselors are shifting their time from reviewing applications to talking to those admitted about the university and what the students hope to accomplish there. Those are the discussions that motivated many of them to become admissions counselors,” according to Robert Gould, vice president for strategic enrollment management.  

“It’s a dream come true,” Gould said.

The piece was the latest in a series on direct admissions in higher education. Read the full article in Inside Higher Ed: Direct Admissions Takes Off.

Learn more about Augsburg Applies to You, Augsburg’s new belonging-centered enrollment approach.

 

Augsburg names new vice president for Enrollment Management

William Mullen to lead admissions, financial services

EnrollmentVP2

MINNEAPOLIS – Augsburg College today announced the appointment of William Mullen as vice president for Enrollment Management. Mullen will join the community in mid-July.

As the College’s chief enrollment officer, Mullen will lead a team of 30 admissions and student financial services staff in building enrollment and leveraging financial aid strategies for Augsburg’s undergraduate, adult undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Mullen will report to Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow and will serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet. Continue reading “Augsburg names new vice president for Enrollment Management”