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New Policies Close Off Opportunities for College Applicants in Need of Extra Help

NEW ORLEANS — Throughout high school, Wellington Coleman did everything he was supposed to do to get into college.

He went to one of New Orleans’ ambitious new charter schools, which focus on preparing students for university-level work. He worked hard and got decent grades. And he sent out a pile of college applications.

But Coleman’s timing was bad. Last year, just as he was finishing high school, the door to four-year public universities closed on thousands of students in Louisiana, most of them low-income. That’s because a state policy approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents in 2010 barred those universities from accepting students who need extra academic help, starting last fall.