Northwestern’s incoming first-year class sets new benchmarks for Pell Grant recipients, CPS graduates

Allyson Chiu, Campus Editor

Northwestern’s incoming first-year class has both the largest number of Pell Grant-eligible students and a record number of Chicago Public Schools graduates, University administrators said.

The University currently has received 1,940 deposits, said Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment. Among the deposits, 18 percent of students are Pell Grant recipients, a number Mills said he expects to grow to about 19 percent by the beginning of Fall Quarter. Also, 127 CPS students have made deposits, which is an increase from last year, he said.

The data “aligns perfectly” with the University’s commitment to increasing diversity, Mills said.

“We are trying to become a leader among selected private universities for college access for populations that have been traditionally underrepresented,” Mills said. “It’s enjoyable to see success because I know how hard the admissions and financial aid staff work in trying to make Northwestern a more diverse campus.”

Based on the deposits, Mills said the incoming first-year class is 20 percent Asian American, about 10 percent black and nearly 12 percent Hispanic. International students make up 10 percent of the class, he said.

Mills said the percentages are subject to change due to the effect of “Summer Melt,” or students who elect to enroll at other institutions. The percentages of black and Hispanic students are expected to increase over the summer, he added. By the start of Fall Quarter, the University is expecting an incoming class of roughly 1,900 students, Mills said.

With the most recent expected increase in Pell Grant-eligible students, Mills said the University is “inching” its way to the goal of having Pell Grant recipients make up 20 percent of the incoming class by 2020.

In addition, Mills said the record number of CPS graduates in the incoming first-year class reflects “more success” of the University’s efforts to recruit locally.

“Northwestern as an institution has signaled an openness and a willingness and an eagerness to try to draw more students from CPS schools and particularly the neighborhood schools and not the selective admissions magnet schools,” he said.

The number of CPS students also includes members of the first graduating class of Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools, a University-sponsored program that provides college preparatory courses and academic assistance to low-income CPS students, University spokesman Al Cubbage told The Daily in an email.

The University has received three deposits from academy graduates, Mills said. About 30 students from the program applied and five were accepted, he said.

“We were clear that we wanted to establish the program just to enable those kids to go to (a) high quality four-year institution of any type, not necessarily Northwestern,” he said. “It was a very pleasant surprise to see so many of them applied in the first graduating class.”

Cubbage told The Daily in an email that the decision to eliminate loans for incoming first-year students, increasing financial aid and the “hard work” of the admissions and financial aid staff have played a part in diversifying the student body.

“The makeup of next fall’s entering class reflects the significant efforts of the University to attract and enroll a truly diverse group of students,” Cubbage said.

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