ATI publishes research papers, issue briefs, case-making guides, annual impact reports, and other publications that elevate the latest trends in higher education and detail promising, evidence-based strategies for increasing postsecondary access and attainment for low- to moderate-income students. Across all of these resources, we seek to highlight best practices that draw on the expertise of our member institutions.
ATI is launching a publication series focused on enrolling, supporting, and graduating student veterans. Making the Case for Student Veterans: Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment, the first in the series, offers an important starting point for this work: making the case and building support for enrolling veterans at your institution.
To guide senior leaders at the beginning stages of this work, this brief uses data to illustrate that student veterans not only enhance campus diversity and enrich academic discourse, but also perform well in the classroom, arrive on campus with ample financial support, and remain engaged members of the community after graduation. The brief also outlines key practices, along with institutional examples, for senior leaders looking to build support for student veteran enrollment:
- Define commitments and integrate them into a comprehensive strategy for diversity.
- Identify and charge key stakeholders to champion and enact strategy.
- Engage faculty, staff, students, and alumni to garner buy-in.
- Communicate explicit commitments to prospective student veterans.
Future briefs in the series will cover other important components of building a veterans program, including best practices for recruiting and enrolling student veterans, financing a veterans program, and supporting student veterans through graduation and beyond.
ATI’s latest practice brief outlines a set of seven practices that institutions can adopt to ensure students maintain a sense of community and belonging, even in a largely virtual climate. Decades of research has demonstrated that students, especially those from lower-income and first-generation backgrounds as well as communities of color, who have a strong sense of belonging at their institutions are more likely to persist and graduate. While most colleges and universities traditionally provide in-person programming to strengthen bonds between students and build community on-campus, many institutions had to reimagine these initiatives after abruptly closing their campuses in spring 2020 in response to the spread of COVID-19.
The following brief addresses a consistent theme that emerged from student stories and survey data throughout spring and summer 2020: a growing disconnect from their college experience. Restrictions on in-person interactions between students, staff, and faculty are only likely to persist through the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, making the issue of belonging an increasingly pressing issue to address. As such, colleges and universities across the country need to develop a comprehensive strategy for employing mechanisms to support students remotely and offer virtual activities that promote belonging.
This practice brief features seven (7) practices that are essential to that comprehensive strategy, drawing from both the research literature and reflections from administrative staff at six colleges and universities on their spring 2020 experiences, all of which are members of the American Talent Initiative (ATI). The tactics listed in this brief are best practices that institutions can consult even beyond the extraordinary circumstances that they find themselves in for the 2020-21 year.
This report makes the case for institutions to build and deepen partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs) as they seek to identify, enroll, and graduate thousands of talented students from lower-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented backgrounds that can thrive in higher education. In addition to highlighting the ways in which CBOs can propel more young people to postsecondary success, the report features a three-stage partnership framework that institutions can leverage to initiate, implement, and improve collaborations with CBOs.
Alongside each element of this framework, the report features a set of actionable recommendations and examples in practice from our member institutions. Finally, the report includes case studies of the University of Michigan and University of Richmond’s respective efforts to establish and scale CBO partnership strategies.
For an overview of the findings in this report, refer to an executive summary here. And for content to help amplify and disseminate the report, we have developed a promotional toolkit that includes social media posts and shareables, e-blast/newsletter language, as well as an inventory of promising practices listed in this publication.
ATI’s second annual Impact Report shares that the ATI-eligible institutions are more than 40 percent of the way toward the 50,000-by-2025 goal, having added 20,696 Pell students between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years. The report provides additional detail about this progress, including that the ATI member institutions have contributed disproportionately to this increase, but also that data from member institutions for the 2018-19 school year show that progress has leveled off.
The report explores strategies at the ATI member institutions making the most progress, particularly the importance of pursuing a comprehensive strategy with leadership and financial support, and discusses the challenges that institutions must overcome to achieve the 50,000-student goal.
A summary of ATI member-submitted data is available in the appendix Aggregate Data on Enrollment, Success, and Income, accessible at this link.
The research presented in this slide deck serves as a visual companion to the American Talent Initiative’s The Talent Blind Spot two-part report on increasing community college transfer to high-graduation-rate colleges and universities. The slide deck is divided into three sections:
- The National Picture: A look at demographics and behaviors of potential community college transfer students.
- A Call to Action for the ATI Sector: A case for why ATI institutions should enroll more high-achieving community college transfers.
- A Road Map from The Practical Guide: Potential high-value practices to consider to support community college transfer success.
The slides are customizable for institutions to use internally or externally to help make a strong data-driven case for transfer and map out community college transfer strategies over the near- and long-term.
This report, the first public reporting since the American Talent Initiative (ATI) launched in December 2016, shares that ATI members have increased enrollment of students who receive federal Pell grants by 7,291 since the 2015-16 school year. This progress indicates that ATI is on track to reach its goal to enroll 50,000 additional low- and moderate-income students at high-graduation rate institutions by 2025. The report provides detail about the quantifiable progress toward the 50,000 student goal, identifies five key strategies that ATI members are employing in their efforts to expand opportunity, and shares more information about how ATI, co-managed by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, supports the work of its members.
A summary of ATI data is available in the Addendum: Aggregate Data on Enrollment, Success, and Income, accessible at this link.*
*An earlier published version of the data addendum incorrectly graphed the $110+/Unknown and Non-resident alien categories. As of 1/9/2019, this error is now corrected.
The Talent Blind Spot demonstrates that, each year, more than 50,000 high-achieving, low- and moderate-income community college students do not transfer to a four-year institution. Approximately 15,000 of these students have a 3.7 GPA or higher, which suggests they could succeed at even the most competitive schools. The report also demonstrates that high-graduation-rate colleges and universities—the American Talent Initiative schools—enroll far fewer transfer students than other four-year institutions. The report offers a path forward based on the work of several ATI member institutions that have demonstrated that creating robust community college transfer success is possible through strong, leadership-drive partnerships, early outreach and advising, and dedicated, holistic supports.
The Talent Blind Spot is divided into two parts.
- The Case for Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions
- Understand the community college transfer landscape at high graduation rate colleges with data from the report.
- The Practical Guide to Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions
- Use the “Fundamental Principles” as a strategy audit to assess how your institution compares to others.
- See what is possible by learning from the “Transfer-Friendly Ecosystems” of three exemplary institutions: Smith College, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of California-Los Angeles.
- Read the “Transfer Tactics Repository” to access case studies of institutional practices that respond to specific challenges.
With finite budgets and multiple priorities, institutions limit the funds they allocate to need-based aid and other programs that support low- and moderate-income students. Yet even with those constraints, some top-performing colleges and universities have enhanced their commitment to serving low- and moderate-income students, and have found the financial means to do so. This paper profiles five such institutions: Franklin & Marshall College, University of California, Berkeley, University of Richmond, University of Texas at Austin, and Vassar College. The paper reviews increases in aid, support, and opportunity at these schools, and highlights strategies that each has pursued to reallocate funds in ways that are financially sustainable, maximally effective, and broadly supported by institutional stakeholders.