Three North Carolina universities are deepening their commitment to equal access.
Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Davidson College have joined the new, 30-member American Talent Initiative. Participating institutions, both public and private, pledge to expand their outreach to low-income students.
Steve Nowicki, Duke's director of undergraduate education, said that offering financial aid is not enough to boost enrollment among disadvantaged students. He said that members of the new initiative have to raise awareness too.
“To make sure students who would benefit from a Duke education, or or an education at any place like this, know that they should try, that they should apply,” he said. “Because a lot of students simply don't do that.”
Each year more than 12,500 low-income students do not enroll in colleges that graduate at least 70 percent of students. That’s according to a statement about the initiative.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has promised a starting sum of $1.7 million for the new alliance, which aims to grow its membership in order to serve more students. Their collective goal is to get 50,000 more low-income students into America's top 270 colleges by 2025.
Member institutions have promised to expand their efforts to recruit and enroll disadvantaged students, and share what they learn about their strategies.
Steve Farmer, vice provost of undergraduate admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill, said the new partnership will have an impact beyond its direct target.
“Every student those students get to know, every professor those students take classes from, every person those students influence their whole lives long,” he said. “All those folks are going to benefit.”