February 22, 2017 – Building on its longstanding commitment to making education accessible to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, Georgetown has become a founding member of the American Talent Initiative (ATI).
The initiative, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is a collaboration among the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program, Ithaka S+R and a growing alliance of colleges and universities, including Georgetown, that are dedicated to substantially expanding opportunities and access for low- and moderate-income students.
The alliance seeks to significantly expand the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s top-performing undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates.
Member institutions must have produced graduation rates of at least 70 percent over six years. Georgetown has graduated more than 94 percent of its students over that time period.
Removing Financial Barriers
“Here at Georgetown, we are committed to being need-blind, meet-full need in our undergraduate admissions, ensuring that every admitted student, regardless of financial capacity, has the opportunity to come to our university,” says Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “We are deeply grateful to join with the American Talent Initiative in their important work to ensure that the very best students from across our country are not limited by financial barriers in their pursuit of higher education.”
Georgetown, along with Harvard, Yale and 27 other Ivy League, state flagship, private universities and liberal arts colleges are considered founding members, having banded together this past December to support the initiative.
The presidents of these universities, including DeGioia, are meeting in New York City today.
In its initial phase, the group will work together to enhance and amplify their own efforts to attract, enroll and graduate lower-income students, in hopes of together bringing about national change.
ATI 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.
The goal is to increase the total number of lower-income students attending these top-performing colleges to about 480,000 by 2025 and beyond 2025, to sustain that increase.
The institutions plan to accomplish this goal by creating a national campaign to raise awareness in the public and private sectors; setting aspirational, measurable goals; and, facilitated by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, identify and promote effective practices to elevate ATI member efforts.
The latter will include quarterly research papers detailing promising strategies for increasing opportunity and success.
The university has had need-blind, full need policies in place since 1978, and is one of only about two dozen institutions of higher education across the country that maintain such policies. Several programs at Georgetown are committed to supporting first-generation and lower-income students, including:
• The Community Scholars Program, which for more than 40 years has provided a five-week academic summer program for accepted first-generation students prior their first year at the university
• The philanthropically funded Georgetown Scholarship Program, which has provided financial and programmatic support to more than 1,000 students since 2004
• The recently created Regents Scholars Program, designed to expand opportunities for students from traditionally underserved communities pursuing studies in the sciences
“Georgetown has been a leader in supporting lower-income and first-generation students for decades and has many best practices to share with other institutions that are part of the American Talent Initiative,” says Randy Bass, Georgetown’s vice provost for education. “Our traditions and mission call us to try and do more by way of inclusion and, in turn, develop increasingly effective ways of creating a truly equitable educational environment at Georgetown.”