Dozens More Selective Colleges Join Pledge to Add Lower-Income Students

"Dozens more selective colleges and universities have joined a pact to recruit more students from low-to-moderate income families, nearly tripling the total that launched the effort a year ago," The Washington Post reports.

"The American Talent Initiative, as it’s known, set a goal last year of adding 50,000 high-achieving students with significant financial need by 2025 at roughly 270 schools with high graduation rates. At the time, organizers of the effort said that would amount to an increase of about 12 percent.

In December 2016, the initiative began with 30 members, including several Ivy League schools and state flagship universities. Now the total is up to 86. Newcomers include the University of Virginia, the rest of the Ivy League, Allegheny College, several University of California campuses and Wake Forest University.

Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist, said he is backing the initiative because he believes that, on the whole, top colleges haven’t done enough to ensure access to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

'I’m a believer that society needs more of the best and the brightest to get a good education,' Bloomberg said in an interview. 'This country is in competition with everybody else. If we leave people not participating — who could participate with a little bit of help and make a difference — shame on us.'

Asked how the initiative has done so far, Bloomberg said: 'Results are good, but they could always be better. We’ve got to ramp up our game.'

He said the membership growth is testament to the power of the idea. College presidents and provosts 'must feel this in fact is working,' he said. 'Otherwise, they wouldn’t waste their time and try to join.'"

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Publication Date: 1/2/2018

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