On May 23 Bloomberg Philanthropies recognized Colby as an American Talent Initiative (ATI) High-Flier, one of a group of 28 high-graduation-rate institutions that are national leaders in college access and success for lower-income students. Colby received the distinction for its steady gains in lower-income student enrollment since 2015-16, and its innovative recruitment, enrollment, and retention practices.
Over the next year, ATI and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with High-Fliers to amplify what they have learned to other four-year colleges and universities across the nation.
An initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, ATI serves as a growing nationwide alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities grounded in the belief that they can collectively expand access for tens of thousands of high-achieving, lower-income students. By doing so, these institutions are increasing socioeconomic diversity within their respective student communities.
“The economic fallout from the pandemic has made it even more important for schools across the country to adopt innovative new ways to attract and retain students from underrepresented backgrounds,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the 108th mayor of New York City. “I applaud ATI’s 28 High-Fliers for leading the way in this work and increasing the diversity of their campuses. We hope their efforts serve as an example for other schools that are committed to creating opportunities for more lower-income students, so we can accelerate national progress on this critical challenge.”
Since ATI’s launch in 2016, Colby has achieved one of the biggest gains in Pell Grant enrollment among its 137 peers. Colby has achieved this by recognizing that affordability is a crucial driver to college access and success—and seeking to become one of the most affordable colleges in the nation. Colby ensures that families who make $75,000 or less annually with typical assets will have a $0 parent or family contribution.
“We’re proud to be part of the American Talent Initiative and to be making significant contributions to this important program. Opening our doors wider for the most talented students from all backgrounds, no matter their personal financial situation, through an exceptional financial aid program has been a top priority for us,” said Colby President David A Greene. “These students have world-changing potential, and those of us leading the nation’s top colleges and universities have an obligation to ensure that the outstanding education we offer is available to them. Doing so will not only change the trajectories of students’ lives but will also alter the course of history for the better. We look forward to continuing to support them and ensure their success as we partner with ATI and Bloomberg Philanthropies.”
This progress has been particularly evident in the two years since Colby reaffirmed its commitment to this work through ATI’s Accelerating Opportunity campaign. Along with its fellow ATI members, it set public, aspirational lower-income student enrollment goals for the first time to help combat the lingering impacts of the pandemic. Two years in, Colby is making strides to reach its Accelerating Opportunity goal of a 15-percent Pell share. The College also is advancing a shared commitment among all 137 ATI members to close equity-based retention and graduation gaps.
As a result of Colby’s leadership in ATI and the Accelerating Opportunity campaign, thousands of additional lower-income students across the United States are accessing and earning bachelor’s degrees. Data shows these students are historically more likely to have higher wages, pursue graduate degrees, become entrepreneurs, and engage in their communities.
The list of American Talent Initiative High-Fliers includes:
Baruch College, New York, N.Y.; Boston University; Centre College, Danville, Ky., Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, Calif.; Colby College; George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.; Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa.; Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.; Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J.; State University of New York at Oneonta; Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J.: Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y.; Towson University, Towson, Md.; University of California, Merced; University of California, San Diego; University of Chicago; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; University of Texas-Austin; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Washington University in St. Louis; Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.; Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
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