Baylor University Joins Growing Alliance of Colleges Working to Expand Access and Opportunity for 50,000 Talented Low- and Moderate-Income Students

April 25, 2017
ATI Presidents

University presidents from American Talent Initiative member institutions, including Baylor's Interim President David Garland, meet with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York City. (American Talent Initiative)

American Talent Initiative brings together 68 of nation’s most respected colleges and universities committed to attracting, enrolling and graduating more high-achieving, lower-income students

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WACO, Texas (April 25, 2017) – Baylor University is among a select group of 68 of the nation’s top universities that have partnered with the American Talent Initiative (ATI) to enroll and educate an additional 50,000 high-achieving low- and moderate-income students by 2025.

ATI, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, brings together a diverse set of public and private institutions united in this common goal. ATI members will enhance their own efforts to recruit, enroll and support lower-income students, learn from each other and contribute to research that will help other colleges and universities expand opportunity.

“At Baylor, we have long understood that improving access to higher education is key to developing the next generations of leaders who will transform the world,” said Baylor Interim President David Garland. “We feel that the goals of the American Talent Initiative fit well with our mission to educate and equip men and women for worldwide leadership and service. Our nation and the globe can only benefit from the success of this collective effort.”

Launched in December 2016, 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. According to ATI, there are approximately 430,000 lower-income students currently enrolled at these 270 institutions.

Highly talented lower-income students are much less likely to graduate with a college degree than their higher-income peers, according to ATI. When qualified high-achieving, lower-income students attend top colleges and universities, their probability of graduating increases significantly, as do potential life earnings and long-term opportunities.

These students have earned the opportunity these schools offer, but for a variety of reasons—including a lack of information about their options, confusion about costs and inadequate financial aid offers—many of them simply lack access. The American Talent Initiative seeks to ensure that these “missing” students have a path to attend and thrive at the institutions with the highest-graduation rates and best track records for post-graduate success.

To reach the goal of enrolling 50,000 students, ATI member institutions focus on four areas:

1. Engaging in robust outreach to low- and moderate-income students
2. Ensuring that admitted students feel included and engaged in the campus community, and are retained
3. Prioritizing need-based financial aid
4. Minimizing or eliminating gaps in progression and graduation rates between students from low-, moderate- and high-income families

Baylor 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.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.