College Board: Connecting Students to Colleges Digitally

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College Board

Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education, says Linda Liu, Vice President, International, The College Board, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

What is the aim of India Global Higher Education Alliance?

Linda Liu, Vice President, International, The College Board

Linda Liu, Vice President, International, The College Board

The India Global Higher Education Alliance is a platform for driving collaboration between the College Board and participating universities in India and abroad to achieve three primary goals. First is to build a community of innovative secondary and higher education leaders who will work to improve the transition for students to higher education in India. Second is to establish a forum for sharing of global best practices to learn from what is working in admissions around the world. Third is to take concrete actions to help ensure that all students in India, regardless of income, geography or social class, can access excellent higher education.

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How do you think this alliance will bring about a change in the education scenario in India?

There are a few ways that Indian students will benefit. All Indian Alliance member universities will be accepting the SAT as an admissions examination. This will greatly simplify the application process and expand opportunities for many students. Students in India can now use one test to apply to the Indian member universities, or universities around the world. Students in India will also have four opportunities each year to take the SAT.

Students who opt to take the SAT can also practice using the Official SAT Practice from Khan Academy ( This world-class resource was developed in partnership with Khan Academy and provides free, personalised practice to all students.

Indian students who qualify for fee reductions will be able to take the SAT at a reduced rate. The SAT fee reductions for Indian students will be scaled according to family income. Based on current prices, this would be: For students from families making less than four lakh annual rupees income, they will be charged 10 per cent of the US fee. That’s roughly Rs 600-700 for students from families in the 4-6 lakh annual rupee income range, they will receive a 50 per cent reduction in the fee around Rs 3,000 – 3,500. The current price of the SAT in India is: $95 without Essay, and $109 with Essay.

Through the College Board India Scholars Programme, qualified low-income, high-achieving students in India will be eligible to receive full scholarships to Indian member universities. The Alliance will also allow member Indian universities to learn from best practices in university admissions from institutions around the world that are part of the Alliance. This includes innovative practices used by Indian and non-Indian member universities. A key belief underlying these best practices is that admissions and enrolment processes remain focused on supporting and expanding opportunities for students to demonstrate their merit. Learning about these practices will allow member universities to adapt them to their own context and improve the experience for students who would be applying to those institutions.

By also including the perspective of secondary schools, member universities can work collaboratively with school leaders to ensure that the transition from secondary to higher education is seamless for the student.

Which universities are part of the Alliance?

Founding Alliance members from India include: Ahmedabad University, Ashoka University, Azim Premji University, Bennett University, BML Munjal University, FLAME University, Manav Rachna University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, NMIMS and SRM Institute of Science and Technology.

Affiliate members from around the world include: Columbia University (US), MIT (US), Pomona College (US), Purdue University (US), McGill University (Canada), University of Cambridge (UK) and University of Hong Kong (HK).

The Indian education system requires changes. What according to you are or should be the key focus areas?

The objective of the Alliance is to provide a platform where stakeholders on both the higher education and secondary education side can work collaboratively to streamline the transition from secondary to higher education and ensure that all students in India, regardless of income, geography or social class, can access excellent higher education. The Alliance is not intended to be an endpoint for changes that need to be made now, but rather a consistent platform that empowers secondary schools and higher education institutions to continuously focus on innovations that expand opportunities for students.

Can you elaborate on the India Scholars initiative?

The Alliance recently launched the College Board India Scholars Programme whereby we will partner with NGOs and Alliance members in India to helplow income students in India get ready for the SAT, access fee reductions to offset the cost of the SAT and earn full scholarships that will be co-funded by the College Board and Indian Alliance member universities.

Students in India who achieve a designated score on the SAT will be designated as top performers and students who come from low income backgrounds will also qualify to apply for a co-funded scholarship. The College Board and member universities from India will co-fund tuition support for qualified College Board India Scholars. Tuition can only be used at participating Alliance member universities in India. Over time, we hope that philanthropic organisations in India and elsewhere would consider contributing funding to this initiative so that it may benefit more students.

Are you looking at expanding the alliance? What is the aim for The College Board in the long run?

Over the next year, we hope to add another 10-15 India Global Alliance member institutions. We are working with our founding members to refine the membership criteria right now.

Regardless of whether institutions are members of the Alliance, they are always welcome to use our programs such as SAT and Advanced Placement and many do. For example, many universities participating in the Study in India initiative use the SAT as an admissions and scholarship credential. Furthermore, through the DASA program, the NITs use the SAT Subject Tests as admissions credentials for Non-Resident Indians. In the long run, we hope to see the transition from secondary to higher education become more seamless and streamlined for all students. Furthermore, that all students in India, regardless of income, geography or social class, can access excellent higher education.

What is The College Board all about?

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization (NGO) that connects students to undergraduate university success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. The original members of the College Board were universities and secondary schools seeking to simplify the university application process. This is also one of the key goals of the India Global Higher Education Alliance.

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