Princeton, Stevens, Rowan honored for efforts to increase access, key success of lower-income students

Three schools among 28 identified nationally by Bloomberg Philanthropies for transformational policies

Princeton, Stevens and Rowan were among 28 institutions of higher education that were named an American Talent Initiative High-Flier – an honor given by Bloomberg Philanthropies to schools that are national leaders in college access and success for lower-income students.

Over the next year, ATI and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with High-Fliers to amplify what they have learned to other four-year colleges and universities across the nation. (The full list of ATI’s 28 High-Fliers is listed below.) An initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, ATI serves as a growing nationwide alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities grounded in the belief that they can collectively expand access for tens of thousands of high-achieving, lower-income students. By doing so, these institutions are increasing socioeconomic diversity within their respective student communities.

“The economic fallout from the pandemic has made it even more important for schools across the country to adopt innovative new ways to attract and retain students from under-represented backgrounds,” Mike Bloomberg said.

“I applaud ATI’s 28 High-Fliers for leading the way in this work and increasing the diversity of their campuses. We hope their efforts serve as an example for other schools that are committed to creating opportunities for more lower-income students, so we can accelerate national progress on this critical challenge.”

Here’s why the three N.J. schools were selected:

Princeton: Princeton received the distinction for its steady gains in lower-income student enrollment since 2015-16, and innovative recruitment, enrollment, and retention practices.

Princeton’s Freshman Scholars Institute and FSI Online will expand to serve more first-generation and/or lower-income Princeton students through its on-campus and online program, offered the summer before incoming students begin their first year on campus. In addition, the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity is looking to scale its FSI Online program beyond Princeton students next year. Princeton hopes to support FLi students graduating from high school nationwide who may not have a pre-orientation summer program at the college or university they plan to attend.

“Princeton is proud to be among the founding members of the American Talent Initiative and to recognize the progress that has been made in enrolling and graduating more students from lower-income backgrounds,” President Christopher Eisgruber said.

“One of my highest priorities is to increase the number of lower-income and middle-income students earning degrees at Princeton and beyond — as we know a college education can be a transformative experience with life-long impact for these talented young people. Our partnership with ATI is one of the many ways Princeton provides national leadership to increase socioeconomic diversity, access and inclusion on our own campus and at colleges and universities across the country.”

Stevens: Stevens achieved its honor through its Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science initiative, where it partners with high schools in underserved communities to provide educational support for students, school counselors and STEM teachers, as well as scholarships for students to attend Stevens’ summer pre-college programs. ACES students who go on to pursue a degree at Stevens continue to receive both academic and financial assistance. The program received the 2019 Innovation in Education Award from the NJ Tech Council, as well as the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Award.

President Nariman Farvardin was thrilled to be honored.

“Our commitment to this initiative aligns with Stevens’ mission to increase lower-income students’ participation in STEM education,” he said. “I am particularly proud that Stevens has been one of ATI’s highest-performing members, making significant progress in Pell enrollment since 2015.

“We recognize the importance of fostering access and providing support to low- and moderate-income students who demonstrate exceptional talent and potential. Through our collaboration with ATI and our fellow member institutions, we can ensure that these students have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive and succeed in higher education and beyond.”

Rowan: Rowan achieved this progress by proactively engaging and bringing back former students who paused their education before completing their degrees. Research shows a higher percentage of these students are from lower-income backgrounds (37% compared to the undergraduate student population of 33%). To reach that student population, Rowan enhanced the Degree Works degree audit system, identifying over 40 former students who met all graduation requirements but had not applied for graduation. Rowan then reached out to these students and awarded them their degrees, recognizing their achievements.

“Public institutions such as Rowan typically have a wide range of students with differing resources, support systems, and academic backgrounds,” Rowan President Ali Houshmand said. “We believe it’s our obligation, however, to carefully research and address student stop-out. This is hard and tedious work, but building support programs and new pathways to degree completion not only helps the students complete what they started, but also their families and ultimately the communities they live in.”

List of American Talent Initiative High-Fliers (in alpha order)

· Baruch College (New York, NY)

· Boston University (Boston, MA)

· Centre College (Danville, KY)

· Claremont McKenna College (Claremont, CA)

· Colby College (Waterville, ME)

· George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

· Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA)

· Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL)

· Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

· Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA)

· Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

· Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

· Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ)

· State University of New York at Oneonta (Oneonta, NY)

· Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ)

· Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY)

· Towson University (Towson, MD)

· University of California, Merced (Merced, CA)

· University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)

· University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

· University of Dayton (Dayton, OH)

· University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)

· University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)

· University of Texas-Austin (Austin, TX)

· University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)

· Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

· Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA)

· Yale University (New Haven, CT)