Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego
What is ATI's goal?
The American Talent Initiative (ATI) was formed in December 2016 with a goal to attract, enroll, and graduate an additional 50,000 lower-income students at the 341 colleges and universities that consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years. ATI members are a subset of these 341 high-graduation-rate institutions. We currently measure progress toward the 50,000-by-2025 goal by using Pell enrollment data collected on an annual basis from ATI members and obtained for non-member eligible institutions via IPEDS (for more information, visit the "What We Do" page of our website). Each year, ATI staff report on ATI members' collective progress towards the 50,000-by-2025 goal.
The graph below demonstrates ATI's collective progress between 2015-16 and 2021-22, the most recent year for which we have data for nearly all members (n=127).
Current and Prior Year Reports
Released in August 2022, ATI's fourth progress update includes details on the initiative's progress through Fall 2021 and relevant insights from the launch of ATI's Accelerating Opportunity campaign in Summer 2021.
Released in June 2021, ATI's third report provides an update on ATI's progress through Fall 2020 and describes plans to accelerate opportunity in response to both pre-COVID and COVID-era challenges.
Released in June 2021, this report summarizes all ATI member-submitted data.
Released in February 2020, ATI's second report highlights Pell growth amongst the ATI-eligible institutions through the 2018-19 school year, but points to initial signs of a leveling off of progress.
Released in December 2018, this first public report on ATI's progress shares notable Pell growth amongst ATI members between 2015-16 and 2017-18.
*The years displayed refer to Fall enrollment for each year. Note: The enrollment data for the 338 ATI eligible institutions uses two sources of data: 1) member-submitted data for the 127 ATI members that participated in ATI's 2021 data collection and 2) publicly available data from IPEDS for the 211 eligible non-members, which is most recently from the Fall 2019 cohort. The data submitted by 127 ATI members include only full-time, bachelor-degree-seeking undergraduates, while the publicly available data include all undergraduates, regardless of degree-seeking or full/part-time status. Since the differences in the data sources persist across all years, we can reliably measure changes over time. Member-submitted data are updated as of July 1st. The Fall 2021 data are considered preliminary.
**One ATI member did not submit 2021-22 Pell data and is excluded from the ATI Eligible and ATI Member groups.
***Two ATI eligible non-members are missing publicly available data and are excluded from the ATI Eligible and ATI Eligible Non-Members.
Where is ATI today?
Despite the initiative's early success, ATI members collectively lost ground toward the 50,000-by-2025 goal from 2019-2020, nearly returning the initiative's Pell enrollment levels to 2015-16 totals. This downturn prompted members to make bold commitments toward aspirational goals to increase lower-income enrollment as a part of the Accelerating Opportunity campaign. Over the past year, members have set strategic priorities and made transformative investments to realize progress toward the aspirational goals they made as a part of this campaign.
- As of 2021-22, ATI has enrolled 7,713 more lower-income students since the start of the initiative in 2015-16. While overall declines in lower-income student enrollment began to stabilize this past year, members have yet to recover from initial decreases in 2019 and steep drops during the pandemic. ATI members enrolled 507 fewer lower-income students from Fall 2020 to 2021 overall, with Pell shares of 24% and 18% among ATI public and private members, respectively. Data from this past year does not reflect progress toward the commitments made through the Accelerating Opportunity campaign.
- Members continue to show that renewed progress is possible. 64 ATI members consistently increased lower-income student enrollment over the past two years, and nearly two-thirds of members have made gains since the start of the initiative. The most recent data also provides an encouraging sign that members are on the right track to recovering from the pandemic: a six percent increase in first-time, full-time enrollment across the membership.
What level of progress have ATI members made?
A number of ATI member institutions have led the way toward enrolling and graduating lower-income students, laying the groundwork for collective progress toward these aspirational goals.
View the ATI members with the largest Pell enrollment growth, highest rate of Pell growth, and highest Pell enrollment shares:
|Largest Growth: 2015-16 to 2021-22||Highest Rate of Growth: 2015-16 to 2021-22||Highest Pell Share 2021-22|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||1688||Colby College||103%||University of California-Merced||61%|
|University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||1386||Washington University in St. Louis||97%||University of California-Riverside||49%|
|University of California-Merced||1236||Claremont McKenna College||69%||Spelman College||42%|
|George Mason University||1141||Yale University||62%||Stony Brook University||38%|
|Stony Brook University||1136||University of Chicago||55%||University of California-Irvine||38%|
|University of California-San Diego||1057||Gettysburg College||63%||Ripon College||37%|
|University of Wisconsin-Madison||805||University of Dayton||51%||University of Central Florida||33%|
|Boston University||786||Centre College||44%||University of California-Davis||33%|
|University of California-Riverside||596||Stevens Institute of Technology||37%||University of California-San Diego||32%|
|Washington University in St. Louis||551||Johns Hopkins University||41%||University of California-Santa Cruz||31%|
Members from across the initiative have made gains under even the most trying of circumstances, illustrating that progress is possible in a variety of contexts. Some specific institutional examples of success are:
Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2021, Claremont McKenna College (CMC) increased the share of Pell students enrolled from 13 to 20 percent. CMC continued to increase Pell enrollment through Fall 2021, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2021, George Mason University increased Pell enrollment by 1,141 students. As of Fall 2021, more than 31 percent of George Mason’s students received Pell grants.
Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2021, Stony Brook University increased Pell enrollment by 1,136 students. In the last few years, Stony Brook’s 4-year Pell graduation rate increased from 57% (2012 entering cohort) to 66% (2017 entering cohort).
Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2021, the University of Dayton increased the share of Pell students enrolled from 10 percent to 15 percent, with plans to further increase the share of Pell enrollments going forward. Between Fall 2019 and Fall 2021, Dayton increased Pell enrollment by 183 students, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2021, the University of Illinois increased the share of Pell students enrolled from 22 to 26 percent. Between Fall 2019 and Fall 2021, Illinois increased Pell enrollment by 269 students.
Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2021, the University of Wisconsin increased Pell enrollment by 805 students. The University of Wisconsin – Madison continued to enroll additional Pell students, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.