New Alliance Formed to Address College Access

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A group of 30 selective colleges has launched a new alliance aimed at expanding access to postsecondary education.

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) — whose founding members include several Ivy League and public flagship universities — seeks to bring a total of 50,000 low- and moderate-income students to universities with graduation rates of least 70 percent by 2025.

“We know that there are a number of low- to moderate-income, high-achieving students with the credentials and the ability to succeed at colleges with the highest graduation rates, yet those students cannot always apply or see those colleges as an option,” Carol Quillen, the president of Davidson College in North Carolina, and a member of ATI’s steering committee, told Education Week. “…We are taking it upon ourselves, these colleges and universities, to seek out and enroll these incredibly talented students for the benefit of our country and to make equal educational opportunity a reality.”

The initiative — which will add more college partners in the coming months and years — is funded by a $1.7 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, an organization founded by former New York Mayor City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Partner colleges agree to increase their outreach to lower-income students and prioritize need-based financial aid on their campuses.

Retention efforts will also be a critical part of the initiative. According to the ATI website, member institutions will ensure that lower-income students “are retained through practices that have been shown to be effective.”

The alliance, which also receives support from Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, will produce quarterly research papers examining college access and success.

View a list of ATI’s member institutions and learn more about the group’s goals.

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