CMC recognized for transformative leadership in college access

CMC recognized for transformative leadership in college access.

Photo by Anibal Ortiz

The American Talent Initiative (ATI), a national alliance of colleges and universities, has recognized Claremont McKenna as a top leader in college access and success for lower-income students.

CMC received the “High-Flier” distinction from ATI for its steady gains in lower-income student enrollment since 2015-16, citing innovative recruitment, enrollment, and retention practices for creating results. Over the next year, ATI and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with the 28 “High-Flier” colleges and universities identified to amplify what they have learned to other four-year colleges and universities across the nation.

Since ATI’s launch in 2016, CMC has achieved one of the most significant gains in Pell enrollment among its 137 peers.

The College has made these advances through strategically eliminating barriers for students. For example, CMC leveraged the Kravis Opportunity Fund to cover expenses beyond tuition, including kick-off grants for high-need new students to purchase essentials like laptops and clothing, full health insurance coverage for high-need students, and first-year summer experience or internship funding for all students on financial aid.

“For CMC, opportunity is more than a set of circumstances to make something possible. It’s an affirmative commitment to remove financial, social, and educational barriers, grow powerful capabilities, open doors, and expand horizons. For our students to achieve effective social mobility, the fulfillment of thoughtful and productive lives, and success as responsible leaders in business, government, and the professions,” said CMC President Hiram Chodosh.

As noted by ATI, the College has helped students achieve social mobility in the two years since they reaffirmed their commitment to this important work through the Initiative’s Accelerating Opportunity campaign. Along with their fellow ATI members, the College set public, aspirational lower-income student enrollment goals for the first time to help combat the lingering impacts of the pandemic. Two years in, CMC has nearly realized its Accelerating Opportunity goal of a 20 percent Pell share. The College is also advancing a shared commitment among all 137 ATI members to close equity-based retention and graduation gaps.

As a result of CMC’s leadership in ATI and the Accelerating Opportunity campaign, thousands of additional lower-income students across the United States are accessing and earning bachelor’s degrees. Data shows these students are historically more likely to have higher wages, pursue graduate degrees, become entrepreneurs, and engage in their communities.

“CMC is committed to making our educational experience and distinctive preparation for responsible leadership in business, government, and professions accessible to all students of all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Jennifer Sandoval Dancs, Associate Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid.

“Our policies of need-blind admission and meeting full needs are a way we demonstrate our steadfast commitment. Since we joined ATI, we have leveraged the leadership, resources, and support of the ATI community to elevate our institutional goals in ways that benefit our campus environment and support our diverse community. We have worked hard to fundraise and develop support programming and resources so that talented students can find a path here regardless of their financial needs. And while they’re here, they find a home where they can grow into their potential, have the infrastructure for success at CMC and beyond, and be impactful leaders in our society.”


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