A new video released by the Education from the Inside Out (EIO) Coalition urges the State University of New York (SUNY) to live up to its mission of providing broad access to high quality education and remove questions about criminal history records from its admissions application. CCA is a lead member of the EIO Coalition and has engaged in pioneering research and advocacy to ban the box in higher education.
Last year, their report “Boxed Out: Criminal History Screening and College Application Attrition” highlighted startling findings from our case study of SUNY’s admissions process. Instead of finding that SUNY routinely rejects applicants with felony convictions, we discovered that the more formidable barrier to admission is the criminal history question itself. In fact, 2 out of 3 applicants who check the felony conviction box are “boxed out” by application attrition – that is, the question and supplemental requirements that follow deter them from completing the application and they are never considered for admission. That’s an application attrition rate that is 3 times higher than the application attrition rate for the general population. Further, for every one applicant with a felony conviction rejected by admissions review committees, 15 are denied admission because of application attrition.The new video from the EIO Coalition puts a human face on this issue and compels us to consider the true impact of criminal history screening in college admissions. CCA joins the EIO Coalition in calling for SUNY and all colleges and universities to ban the box and prohibit the use of criminal history information in admissions decision making.
We are grateful to the Herb Block Foundation for their support of our work to increase access to higher education.