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Get to Know the Coalition Application

Want to apply to financially friendly colleges committed to student success? Consider using the Coalition App.

Like its competitors the Common Application and the Universal College Application, the Coalition Application, launched in 2016, lets you apply to multiple colleges through a centralized online hub. It has many of the same features you'll find on other application services: you can build your college list, coordinate recommendation letters and other requirements, and keep track of all the moving pieces of your college applications in one place.

What's Different About the Coalition App?

Colleges must meet specific criteria. The Coalition Application was created by a nonprofit organization, The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. Member colleges must show they are committed to providing affordable tuition, need-based financial aid, and support for low-income and under-represented students. Some of the qualifications include:

  • Having a six-year graduation rate of 60 percent or higher
  • Graduating students with low-to-no debt and low loan default rates
  • Serving student populations containing more than 10 percent under-represented or low-income students
  • Showing a history of meeting students' full demonstrated financial need or offering low-cost, in-state tuition

The Coalition App helps you plan early for college. You can begin using the Coalition App as early as ninth grade. You'll get a private "locker" where you can collect and save your personal and academic achievements throughout high school—things like letters of commendation, graded assignments, artwork and videos—anything that will help tell your personal story and demonstrate your readiness for college.

The application also features a "collaboration space" where you can share college lists and essay topics with counselors, parents, or mentors.

Some of the essay prompts are unique. Here are the Coalition's essay prompts for the 2018–2019 academic year.

  • Tell a story from your life describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you've had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What is the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

The application doesn't enforce a strict word limit, but the Coalition suggests that you keep your essays to around 550 words.

Who belongs to the Coalition?

The Coalition now has more than 140 members and includes a range of public and private colleges and universities. At this time, only a few colleges exclusively accept the Coalition App, and membership is limited to U.S. colleges.

For a complete list of members, see Colleges That Accept the Coalition Application.

What's Next?

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
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+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.