College application season kicked-off on September 18, 2020 through the #WhyApply campaign. High school students throughout Alabama will have an opportunity to apply to colleges in the state as well as in nearby states without having to pay the application fees. College application fees are among one of the many barriers to postsecondary education access. The American College Application Campaign (ACAC) is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential. According to ACAC, college matters because “not only are college graduates half as likely to be unemployed as those with only a high school degree, they are also more likely to vote and be leaders in their communities.”

Alabama College Application Week is from October 19-23. During this week, over 50 colleges and universities in and around the state have waived their college application fees. Recognizing that 65 percent of jobs require postsecondary education and training, Alabama College Application Week is a state-wide initiative that is part of the national American College Application Campaign. In collaboration with Alabama College Application Week, high school educators provide college-interested students with individualized support and assistance as they prepare for and complete the college application process, with the goal of every student completing at least one college application. Obtaining a postsecondary credential correlates with greater lifetime earnings and lower unemployment. High school students who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity can apply directly through the participating colleges’ application portals. Furthermore, students can apply to any Alabama community college for free throughout the year.

Alabama College Application Week is one of the components of the Alabama Goes to College Campaign. This free program is a partnership of the Alabama State Department of Education with the Alabama College Attainment Network, and it is available to all Alabama high schools. If you want to know more about Alabama Goes to College, please visit http://alabamagoes2college.org/.

The Alabama College Attainment Network breaks down barriers to increase college readiness, access, and completion in Alabama, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. Alabama Possible serves as the backbone agency for the network, and the Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Commission on Higher Education, and Alabama Community College System are founding members. If you want to know more about the Alabama College Attainment Network, please visit https://alabamapossible.org/alabamacan/.

Dr. Willietta Conner, Alabama State Department of Education, is the State Coordinator for Alabama College Application Week. If you have any questions, please either email her at wconner@ALSDE.edu or call her at 334-694-4764.