Colleges That Are Changing Lives

These Colleges Are Changing The Lives of Low-Income Students

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As part of President Obama’s ongoing commitment to helping all Americans complete a quality, affordable college education, the U.S. Department of Education today released a report highlighting the efforts of colleges and universities to promote access, opportunity, and degree completion among low-income students, and identifying areas of much-needed improvement.

“For students from low- and moderate-income families, a college degree is the surest path to the middle class in our country,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John King, in a statement. “I applaud the colleges and universities that have taken measurable steps to open up this pathway and make it a successful one for students from all backgrounds. But we need these types of efforts to become the rule and not the exception.”

The report, Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need: Advancing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students, shines a light on institutions across the country that have a strong record of low-income students completing their degrees. The report highlights schools that excel not only in providing Pell-eligible students with access to college, but also in providing the supports that enable those students to succeed.

The report is also a call to action for institutions that have significant gaps between completion rates for Pell recipients and completion rates overall, as well as institutions that, despite positive outcomes, don’t enroll a significant proportion of low-income students.

What colleges and universities do matters. The divergent outcomes of similar schools demonstrate that. Institutions of higher education can do more to help Pell students on their campus reach their educational and career goals.

In the report, the following colleges are identified as outperforming their peer institutions in enrolling and graduating Pell Grant recipients.

Public 4-year institutions

California State University — Stanislaus

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College — NY

Florida International University

Georgia State University

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Rutgers University — Newark

University of California — Irvine

University of California — San Diego

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Michigan — Dearborn

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of Pittsburgh — Bradford

Western Illinois University


Private 4-year institutions

Agnes Scott College — GA

Blue Mountain College — MS

California Baptist University

Converse College — SC

Howard University

Mills College — CA

Monmouth College — IL

Salem College — NC

Spelman College

Spring Arbor University — MI

The Sage Colleges — NY

University of La Verne — CA

William Carey University — MS


Selective private nonprofit 4-year institutions

Amherst College — MA

Columbia University — NY

University of Southern California

Vassar College — NY