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Emory's support for lower-income students highlighted in new report

A new report by a nationwide alliance of leading colleges and universities highlights Emory  University’s efforts to improve opportunity for low- and moderate-income students. 

Emory, one of the 108 member institutions that make up the American Talent Initiative (ATI), was cited for its goal of having 20 percent of its students be recipients of Pell grants, which are federal grants to low- and moderate-income students. With over 20 percent of Emory’s current first year class being Pell eligible, Emory is well on its way to meeting this goal.

“Our goals for access and affordability of an Emory education pair very closely with the overall goals of ATI,” says John Leach, Emory’s assistant vice provost and director of financial aid. “We are happy to partner with ATI in getting the word out to low- and moderate-income students that an Emory education is affordable.”

Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report cited Emory as #5 among national universities in economic diversity.

Launched in December 2016, ATI is a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies and is led by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R. ATI is also supported by the Gray Foundation. 

Members of the ATI have increased enrollment of students who receive Pell grants by 7,291 since the 2015-16 school year. This momentum, according to the new report, indicates that ATI is on track to reach its goal to make the nation’s top colleges more accessible for 50,000 additional low- and moderate-income students by 2025. Emory joined ATI in April of this year. 

“Emory is welcoming to all talented students, regardless of family income,” says John Latting, associate vice provost and dean of undergraduate admission. “The way we approach the admission process and financial assistance are consistent with that perspective.” 

Some examples Latting cites:

  • Emory meets the full demonstrated need of every U.S. student admitted.
  • At Emory, financial aid isn’t just about low-income families. “We are addressing access for all sorts of families, middle-income families as well as low-income families,” he says.

Emory admissions also is part of a pilot partnership with the College Board that provides information about the level of opportunity that students have had both in their high schools and their neighborhoods.

“Through this program we are conscious of students who don’t have a lot of opportunities or resources, and are able to make better admissions decisions,” says Latting.

ATI leaders say that sharing information among member institutions and documenting progress publicly through tools such as their impact report play an important role in the initiative.

“We want to recognize the member institutions not only for their concrete progress, but also for the remarkable spirit of collaboration. To help move ATI forward, many institutions have shared information that they would not otherwise,” says Catherine Bond Hill, managing director at Ithaka S+R, which authored the report. “We are glad to gather this initial information, and look forward to sharing future reports that contribute new lessons and strategies for success in this critical area of educational opportunity.”

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