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Colleges Expand Commitments to Recruit Underserved Students

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A half-dozen colleges and universities—including Yale University—have expanded their commitments or made new plans to bring more low-income students onto their campuses.

Yale University has pledged to enroll 150 more students who are the first in their families to attend college, and 225 more students who are eligible for Pell grants in the next four years, according to an announcement by the American Talent Initiative

Yale is expanding on a pledge it made as one of the elite colleges and universities that launched the initiative last year. The project aims to graduate 50,000 more students from low-income families by 2025 at the 270 institutions that have six-year graduation rates of 70 percent or better. 

The project is funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation, and led by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program, in conjunction with Ithaka S+R.

The list of participating institutions has now grown to 86. Among the most recent additions is Wake Forest University, which made a suite of promises focusing on students eligible for Pell grants. It has pledged to boost their applications by 50 percent, their enrollments by more than 40 percent, and their graduations by 12.5 percent. The university also aims to increase need-based aid by 25 percent.

Another new member is Elizabethtown College, a liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, which is aiming to quadruple the number of transfer students in the next four years.

The University of Texas at Austin renewed its commitment to the project with a goal of increasing its four-year graduation rate from 52 percent to 70 percent in five years, ATI officials said.

The Georgia Institute of Technology pledged to increase need-based aid by 30 percent, and the University of Washington has committed to graduate 125 low- and middle-income students in each class cohort by 2025.

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