Washington University makes continued progress in expanding access

New report from American Talent Initiative highlights growth in enrollment of lower-income students

Washington University in St. Louis is proud to be part of the American Talent Initiative (ATI), a national alliance of leading colleges and universities that a new report released today shows is on track to enroll 50,000 more lower-income students by 2025. The findings underscore the importance of the ATI’s collaborative push to expand opportunity and socioeconomic diversity across the country and highlight the results of Washington University’s efforts in this area in recent years.

Between 2015-16, the year before ATI launched, and the 2017-18 school year, U.S. colleges and universities with graduation rates of 70% or higher — Washington University among them — added 20,696 students who qualify for Pell Grants. That number represents more than 40% of ATI’s 2025 goal. While ATI measures the collective progress of all high-graduation-rate institutions, those that have joined ATI have contributed disproportionately to this increase.

At Washington University, the number of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled has increased from 8% in 2015-16 to 14% in 2018-19. This growth is a result of a concerted effort to invest in recruiting strategies and a framework to provide support to students when they arrive on campus.

“Achieving greater socioeconomic diversity is a highly worthwhile pursuit, and it is attainable. But it does require a deliberate, sustained effort,” Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said. “We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made to date at Washington University, and at the same time we know we still have a lot of work to do. We need to do more to make sure all admitted undergraduate students with incredible talent are able to walk through our doors, and we’ll continue to double down on our efforts until we turn that goal into reality.”


ATI, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and managed by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, has grown from 30 founding members in 2016 to 128 by the end of 2019 and includes flagship state universities, prominent liberal arts colleges and every member of the Ivy League. Last year, 19 additional colleges and universities joined ATI, which now has 37 public and 91 private institutions. Washington University has been an ATI member since 2016. The initiative is also funded by the Gray Foundation and the Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family Foundation.

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