American Talent Initiative Seeks Greater Access for Low-Income Students

I remember a few years ago reading about the significance of socioeconomic status in college admissions.

Research had shown that low-income students who scored high on the SAT were less likely to apply to college than high-income students who had scored lower.

I’ve also read about how early low-income graduates of KIPP charter schools who had done well in high school floundered in college, even to the point of dropping out. (KIPP has since sought to provide additional support to its graduates and has instituted KIPP Through College.)

It isn’t just native intelligence that makes a person succeed in college.


The American Talent Initiative


Taking on the goal of providing talented, lower-income students greater access to colleges and universities that have the highest graduation rates, the American Talent Initiative brings together 30+ public and private institutions to “attract, enroll, and graduate low- and moderate-income students ….”

ATI isn’t necessarily addressing racial diversity, nor is it specifically targeting black students. It is targeting low- and moderate-income students of all races. However, since black Americans are disproportionately low income, it’s likely that a percentage of ATI students will be black.

Here’s more about the work of ATI from the Hechinger Report.

Today, a college degree is more critical than ever. Those with a college degree not only earn more than those without, they are more likely to be employed.

Beyond the individual benefit, our nation is stronger when talent from all parts of society has the opportunity to flourish, and postsecondary education is still the main source of that opportunity.

Unfortunately, America continues to struggle to provide postsecondary education to young people from lower-income backgrounds. Even the most academically qualified lower-income students are far less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than their higher-income peers.

To address this national challenge, all segments of the higher education community must do their part, including America’s top colleges and universities. Talented, lower-income students who enroll at those institutions thrive. Yet, research by Stanford University’s Caroline Hoxby and Harvard University’s Chris Avery confirms that, in each high school group, there are at least 12,500 lower-income young people with outstanding academic credentials who do not enroll at one of America’s most competitive colleges.

Earlier this month, we joined our colleagues in announcing the American Talent Initiative, which brings together a diverse set of public and private institutions united in the common goal of expanding access and opportunity for talented, lower-income students at hundreds of colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates.

To read more, go to the Hechinger Report.