WashU joins effort to increase low-income student enrollment

ST. LOUIS • A new initiative launched this week seeks to boost low-income student enrollment at 30 elite universities nationwide, including Washington University.

The American Talent Initiative was kicked-off by 30 founding schools, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities as well as a few high-ranking public schools like the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The plan is to grow to 270 member universities by 2025, and for those 270 schools to enroll at least 50,000 students who are eligible to receive need-based federal grants.

Joining the effort was a no-brainer, Washington University Provost Holden Thorp said.

The school has worked during the last few years to build a more socioeconomically diverse student body. The current effort includes $25 million per year spent to help that recruitment effort.

Washington University's existing goal to have 13 percent of its student body comprised of students from lower income backgrounds by 2020 aligns well with the goals of the talent initiative, Thorp said. That 13 percent would amount to a little more than 1,800 students based on 2016 enrollment.

Schools don't have to pay to be part of the initiative, which is funded with a $1.7 million multi-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. The funding is planned for marketing and research.

Original content courtesy of stltoday.com and available at WashU joins effort to increase low-income student enrollment.