Last year, Connecticut passed legislation directing the Board of Regents for Higher Education (“BOR”) to establish the Connecticut Automatic Admissions Program (“CAAP”). The CAAP permits eligible Connecticut high school students to be admitted automatically to Connecticut’s state universities (other than the University of Connecticut) and other Connecticut post-secondary institutions of higher education that choose to participate. Students graduating in 2023 will be the first class eligible for this program. Public high schools are required to participate. Non-public high schools, on the other hand, must submit an application to the BOR in order to participate and will be approved only if they are accredited by a generally recognized accrediting organization (or operated by the United States Department of Defense) and comply with the CAAP program requirements.
On October 31, 2022, the Connecticut State Department of Education (“CSDE”) released helpful information and resources to guide participating high schools in the process of identifying and notifying students of their eligibility for the CAAP and other details about the new program. Given that this will be the inaugural year, participating high schools should carefully review this information to ensure compliance with the CAAP requirements.
Under the CAAP, participating high schools must calculate high school seniors’ grade point averages according to the College Board formula (“CAAP GPA”) and determine their corresponding class rank percentile (“CAAP percentile rank”). In addition, schools must identify the participating universities to which students are eligible for automatic admission, and send students who qualify for automatic admission letters confirming their eligibility. These requirements are explained more fully below.
Calculating CAAP GPA and CAAP Percentile Rank
The CAAP offers eligible Connecticut high school students automatic admission to participating Connecticut colleges and universities based on their high school CAAP GPA and/or CAAP percentile rank. Importantly:
- High schools must use the College Board’s formula for calculating CAAP GPA and CAAP percentile rank. This calculation is unweighted and should include all grades earned through the end of 11th grade. Regarding whether to include particular courses and/or transfer credits, schools are advised to follow the same approach used in their regular high school GPA calculations. Only courses with a grade should be included.
- Schools may continue to use their existing GPA formulas for all other purposes, and the CAAP GPA and CAAP percentile rank should only be used and reported for purposes of the CAAP. In addition, this new law does not require public boards of education to publish or provide class rank or publish a student’s CAAP GPA or CAAP percentile rank on the student’s transcript.
Identifying Institutions to Which Students Are Eligible for Automatic Admission
The state universities specifically included in this program include Central Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University. For automatic admission to these universities, students must rank in the 70th percentile (i.e., students must rank in the top 30% of their graduating class) based on their CAAP GPA. Other participating colleges and universities have established different criteria (e.g., threshold CAAP GPAs, rather than percentile ranking). Applicable thresholds are listed in FAQs on the CSDE’s website and in the BOR’s Automatic Admission Program website.
Generating Student Letters
Once calculations are complete, high schools must generate letters for eligible students following the format of the CSDE’s template letter. Such letters must indicate if the student is eligible for automatic admission to one or more participating institutions based on their applicable thresholds. Each letter should closely follow the template, include all identified elements, and list only the colleges to which the student is eligible for automatic admission. The CSDE further recommends that the letters include the signature of an appropriate school official with relevant contact information.
Applying to Participating Institutions
Students who are eligible for the CAAP can submit a simplified application, with no application fee, to the colleges and universities that are identified in their eligibility confirmation letters. Some universities offer automatic admission to the institution, but not necessarily to each of its programs.
The application will include information and/or resources specific to the particular institution, such as graduation rates and average earnings of graduates, net cost of completing a bachelor’s degree, and financial aid. To be eligible for federal and other types of financial aid, students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid with the institution.
For questions about the CAAP, please contact Dori Pagé Antonetti at email@example.com, Julie C. Fay at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jessica Richman Smith at email@example.com, or any other member of our School Law Practice Group.