Seven Colleges Receive Grants to Aid Transfer of High-Achieving Community College Students
Cornell University and seven other colleges and universities have received grants totaling $6.78 million from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to launch programs designed to help high-achieving, low-income community college students earn bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year institutions.
“From Cornell’s first days, the university has been committed to Ezra Cornell’s bold declaration that higher education should be available to a broad spectrum of qualified students from all backgrounds,” says Cornell Provost Biddy Martin. “We place a high priority on enhancing diversity of all kinds and are delighted to have received this grant.”
Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment, spearheaded the efforts at Cornell to obtain the university’s $810,800 share of the grant, which will fund the university’s Pathway to Success Community College Partnership Program. The program is a partnership with Monroe Community College and Morrisville State College that uses informational sessions, individual contacts, admissions receptions, visits, summer workshops and other outreach programs to introduce high-achieving students to Cornell and help them with the transfer process.
One of the major motivations behind the grants is to diversify the socio-economic spectrum of major competitive colleges and universities. Cornell already features a “need-blind” admissions program, which does not take a student’s economic status into account in the admissions process. But studies have suggested that many area community college students still consider a Cornell degree out of their reach. The university hopes the new program will change that opinion.
“Our country has a treasure of untapped talent at our community colleges, including many outstanding students from low-income backgrounds,” says Matthew J. Quinn, the Cooke Foundation’s executive director. “This initiative will help selective colleges and universities achieve their goals of access and excellence and enable these students to graduate from the highest-ranking institutions. We will all benefit if every qualified student with financial need has such opportunities.”
Under the Pathway to Success program, Cornell will commit funds in financial aid and other resources to expand community college transfer programs. More than 60 percent of Cornell students receive some sort of financial assistance, and the university vows to assist students in meeting 100 percent of such needs with a mixture of grants, loans and work-study.
The other four-year institutions receiving funding through the Cooke Foundation program are Amherst College, Bucknell University, Mount Holyoke College, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Southern California.
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