NAU announced as winner of The Great Admissions Redesign Challenge

President Cruz Rivera and three others sit on stage and discuss community college.

Lumina Foundation has named Northern Arizona University one of seven winners of The Great Admissions Redesign, a competition to revolutionize the admissions process and increase accessibility to higher education for all students. 

“Lumina is thrilled by the number of outstanding applicants committed to revisioning the college admission process,” said Melanie Heath, strategy director for Lumina. “As a winner of The Great Admissions Redesign, NAU exemplifies leadership in streamlining procedures and promoting inclusivity, ensuring all students have equitable opportunities to pursue their educational goals.”

The $750,000 award allows NAU’s Arizona Attainment Alliance (A++) to expand its universal admissions program to nine community colleges in the state. Through this program, every applicant to NAU either receives direct admission or, instead of denial, an opportunity to start their education at an Arizona community college before continuing at NAU. Through statewide data-sharing, the admissions process is automatic and seamless from NAU to the community college. Once academic preparedness is achieved at the community college, the student is guaranteed admission to NAU without re-applying. 

“This generous gift from Lumina will allow us to strengthen the post-secondary ecosystem in Arizona by providing the resources to scale the Universal Admissions program with our partner community colleges, giving every Arizonan access to an affordable high-quality education,” said Jonathan Gagliardi, vice president of economic mobility and social impact at NAU. 

Additional grant recipients include the Illinois Board of Higher Education and California State University System (implementation grants) and the Louisiana Board of Regents, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Washington Student Achievement Council and Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (planning grants).  

NAU Communications