The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern joins pledge to recruit more low- and moderate-income students

Allie Goulding, Assistant Campus Editor

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Northwestern recently joined more than 80 colleges and universities in a pledge to recruit more low- and moderate-income students by 2025.

The American Talent Initiative works with universities that consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years to enroll and graduate an additional 50,000 low- and moderate-income students by 2025, according to its website. Member organizations set individual goals, such as prioritizing need-based financial aid and recruiting students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds through “robust outreach,” the website said.

“We joined ATI during the our last recruitment cycle and plan to become a more active, fully- engaged partner in the coming years,” University spokesman Bob Rowley told The Daily in an email. “Already, we’ve participated in a webinar on media strategy, and we plan to integrate their #activatetalent campaign into our social media.”

The initiative has grown since it began in December 2016 with 30 original members, adding dozens more “selective” colleges and universities in 2017.

According to Northwestern, about 19 percent of the students in the class of 2021 are Pell-eligible. This marked an increase from the class of 2019, which was about 15 percent Pell-eligible students, according to a news release.

Associate provost for University enrollment Michael Mills told The Daily in an email that joining ATI was a way to “make a very public pronouncement that enrolling more low-income students is our top priority.”

Mills said Northwestern aims to have Pell Grant recipients make up 20 percent of its entering class by 2020.

NU created Student Enrichment Services in 2014 to help low-income and first-generation students navigate campus resources and build an inclusive community.

Co-president of Northwestern Quest Scholars Yakira Mirabito is a McCormick fifth-year senior and has been at Northwestern since Fall 2013. She said while SES has made improvements during her time at NU, such as establishing a physical office in the Foster-Walker Complex, there is still more work to be done. Resources for low-income students should have a more recognizable location on campus, at least one students could find through the NUHelp app, she said.

“I, and everyone else on the board, wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the financial aid package that we do,” Mirabito said. “Northwestern is getting better (with their resources for low-income students), but just like any kind of progress, they can always do better. What they’ve done is good, but just to say ‘Okay, we’ve done our part. Now let’s focus on something else,’ isn’t enough.”

Twitter: @alliejennaaa