UMass Amherst Joins National Initiative to Enroll Low-Income Students


As part of UMass Amherst’s ongoing efforts to expand educational access and diversify its student body, the campus has joined the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an effort to substantially increase the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at the nation’s top-performing undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates.

Formed last year with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, ATI now numbers more than 50 public and private institutions. School leaders, including Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, will participate in an inaugural president roundtable on Feb. 22 in New York City. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, is scheduled to take part in the session.

By 2025 the members of the American Talent Initiative intend to attract, enroll and graduate 50,000 additional high-achieving, lower-income students at 270 colleges and universities with graduation rates of 70 percent or higher. According to the most recent federal data available, there are around 430,000 lower-income students enrolled at these 270 institutions. ATI intends to increase that number to 480,000 over the next decade.

Colleges and universities participating in ATI will further the national goal of developing more talent from every American neighborhood through:

  • More robust recruitment of students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds

  • Making need-based financial aid a priority

  • Implementing proven practices to enroll and keep lower-income students that are admitted

  • Minimizing or eliminating gaps in progression and graduation rates

During the meeting, the presidents will discuss a variety of topics, near- and long-term goals for ATI, the challenges related to increasing access and opportunity for lower-income students, researching issues of access and success and identifying solutions to address gaps in those areas for low-income students.

The initiative is co-managed by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program ( and Ithaka S+R (

Participating institutions include:

Amherst College

Bates College

Baylor University

Brown University

California Institute of Technology

Claremont McKenna College

Dartmouth College

Davidson College

Dickinson College

Duke University

Elizabeth College

Fordham University

Franklin & Marshall College

Georgetown University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Gettysburg College

Harvard University

Johns Hopkins University

Kenyon College

Lafayette College

Lawrence University

Lebanon Valley College

Lehigh University

Marist College

New York University

Pomona College

Princeton University

Rice University

Rutgers University

Spelman College

Stanford University

Swarthmore College

Ohio State University

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Denver

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Pennsylvania

University of Richmond

University of Southern California

University of Texas at Austin

University of Washington

Vanderbilt University

Vassar College

Washington University in St. Louis

Wesleyan University

Williams College

Wofford College

Yale University



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