Six US universities have announced new widening participation commitments aimed at enrolling and supporting more low-income students.
Yale University has pledged to increase its number of enrolled first-generation students and Pell Grant students (those who receive financial aid from the government) by 150 and 225 respectively, the University of Washington has committed to graduate 125 low- and middle-income students per cohort by 2025 and Georgia Institute of Technology said that it will increase need-based aid by 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest University said that it will increase the number of Pell Grant applicants by 50 per cent, the number of enrolled Pell Grant students by 40 per cent, the number of need-based aid recipients by 25 per cent and graduation rates of Pell Grant students by 12.5 per cent.
The University of Texas at Austin also pledged to increase its four-year graduation rate to 70 per cent, up from 52 per cent, in five years, and Elizabethtown College has committed to increase the number of transfer students by 400 per cent from 25 in 2017 to 100 annually by 2021.
The universities are the first institutions to announce public commitments through the American Talent Initiative, an alliance of universities that collectively aim to increase the total number of low- and moderate-income students by 50,000 – from 480,000 to 530,000 – by 2025.
It is run by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and research and academic consultancy company Ithaka S+R, and is supported by media mogul Michael Bloomberg’s charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Its membership has grown from 30 to 86 institutions since it launched in December 2016. The universities all graduate at least 70 per cent of their students within six years.