low-income students

Efforts grow to make higher-ed recruitment more equitable for low-income students

Research shows recruitment efforts focus on affluent white high schools

As institutions face criticism over disparities in different racial groups’ access to higher education, a record number of universities have pledged to focus on enrolling low-income students.

The American Talent Initiative (ATI), first launched in December 2016, reached a milestone in April when 100 universities total had signed on to target enrollment for low- and moderate-income students. The goal is to enroll 50,000 students with strong graduation rates by 2025.

ATI member institutions are required to graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years. Membership in ATI now includes the entire Ivy League, 17 state flagship universities, and private colleges.

ATI universities are using a number of strategies designed to enroll high-achieving lower-income students, including better recruitment of qualified high school graduates from lower-income communities. The universities also will increase the number of applications from Pell-eligible students, the number of Pell-eligible students who are enrolled, and the number of first-generation students enrolled.

The pledge comes in the wake of research revealing U.S. colleges and universities tend to recruit affluent white high school students over lower-income students and students from minority communities.

Laura Ascione

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