U of M Twin Cities joins American Talent Initiative

This week, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus joined the American Talent Initiative (ATI) in a national effort dedicated to attracting, enrolling, and graduating more low- and moderate-income students. Through its membership, the University joins with 67 of the nation’s top-performing public and private colleges and universities in this shared commitment to increasing access and success.

“The University of Minnesota has a long-standing commitment to increasing access and affordability for talented students from all walks of life, and in turn, ensuring their success while enrolled,” said U of M President Eric W. Kaler. “Research shows us that each year high-performing students are not attending the institutions where they have the most likelihood of graduating, and we can and must do more, which is why we are excited to join our peers as members of the American Talent Initiative.”

Launched in December 2016, the American Talent Initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and was founded with a national goal of educating 50,000 additional high-achieving, lower-income students at the 270 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates by 2025. Based on the most recent federal data available, there are approximately 430,000 lower-income students enrolled at these institutions. ATI’s goal is to increase and sustain the total number of lower-income students attending these top-performing colleges to about 480,000 by 2025. To reach this ambitious goal, ATI aims to add more top-performing colleges to its membership in the coming months and years.

Colleges and universities participating in ATI will further the national goal of developing more talent from every American neighborhood by:

  • Recruiting students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds through robust outreach;
  • Ensuring that admitted lower-income students enroll and are retained through proven effective practices;
  • Prioritizing need-based financial aid; and
  • Minimizing or eliminating gaps in progression and graduation rates between students from low-, moderate- and high-income families.

The U and other ATI members will share lessons learned as well as institutional data, and throughout the coming years, will annually publish their aggregate progress toward meeting the national goal of 50,000 additional lower- income students by 2025. The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, the two not-for-profit organizations coordinating the initiative, will study the practices that lead to measurable progress and share that knowledge with field through regular publications. The first of these publications focusing on financial strategies to bolster lower-income student success was published in February on the ATI website.



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