Dallas-area Pilot Takes “Fast Pass” Approach to Remove Barriers to Enrollment

Making the college-going process a lot simpler by removing barriers to enrollment is the goal of a pilot program involving a coalition of Dallas-area school districts and universities that are empowering students with a digital “Fast Pass” approach to enrollment. The College Enrollment Fast Pass, built on Greenlight Credentials’ digital learner record technology, gives students the ability to own and send their verified high school records to colleges and submit self-uploaded enrollment documents, all from their phones or other digital devices. 

Beginning last year, three Dallas-area school districts – Garland, Irving and Desoto ISDs – began working with several universities, including University of Texas at Arlington and University of North Texas at Dallas, with support from EMS College and Career Solutions, to roll out the Fast Pass to select pilot groups of high school students.

This spring, leaders from three of the institutions shared early observations and results from the pilot program. The panel discussion was held at the Spring 2022 Lunch and Learn session at the Dallas College Garland Center on April 19, part of an ongoing series of learning summits hosted by Economic Mobility Systems (EMS) for educators and community leaders focused on improving college and workforce outcomes across Texas.

EMS Career Solutions Director Dr. Tonni Grant moderated the panel, which included Dr. Tiffany Gilmore, Director of Guidance and Counseling, Garland ISD; Jennifer Humphreys, Coordinator of Admissions, University of Texas at Arlington; and Stephanie Holley, Vice President for Student Access and Success, University of North Texas at Dallas.

 “Our vision for piloting the College Enrollment Fast Pass with these institutional partners was to build student agency and break down the mechanical barriers that often stand in the way of college enrollment.”
Dr. Tonni Grant, EMS

Evolving to meet student needs

Discussing her school district’s utilization of the Greenlight technology platform, Dr. Gilmore spoke from the students’ perspective.  The Garland team sees the use of learner record technologies as a natural, great step to ensure they are evolving with students who are now digital natives.  

As well, the team views the use of digital learner records and related technologies as part of their overall responsibility and obligation to help students and families on their postsecondary journeys and to reach their higher education goals.

The initial response from Garland students has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Students are loving the simplicity of the college enrollment fast pass and the ability to have everything they need for college enrollment in one place.”
Dr. Tiffany Gilmore, Garland ISD

Lessons learned with university partners

Representing two of the pilot program’s university partners, Jennifer Humphries of UTA and Stephanie Holley of UNTD, spoke about their institution’s goals for the program and some of the lessons learned during the pilot.

Both agreed on the need for improved communication, between the high school, students, and the high education institution, to make sure that it is clear who has submitted what, and to whom.  Both also noted the Fast Pass’ ability to give students greater visibility into the process, allowing them to easily track the status of their submissions online.

“Too many times students get stuck in the process of enrollment and many times it is as simple as having the right documentation.  With the Fast Pass, our hope is that we can greatly simplify the process for students.”
Stephanie Holley, UNTD

VP Holley further noted that the Fast Pass holds potential to address the issue of summer melt – the noted phenomenon of high school students submitting their college applications prior to graduation yet failing to complete enrollment by fall.  

 “We are excited to build on this work in the coming school year and help more of our students make a successful transition from high school to college.”
Dr. Tiffany Gilmore, Garland ISD

About EMS College and Career Solutions

EMS College and Career Solutions helps school districts empower students and build strong real time case management solutions to dramatically improve equitable college and career outcomes.  College and Career Solutions provides a set of tools and processes that includes helping school district set up and manage Salesforce, an effective case management tool for college and career work.

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