The University of Washington Commits to Recruiting and Retaining Low-Income Students Through Bloomberg Philanthropies-Funded American Talent Initiative
Juan Guerra, current chair of the UW Department of American Ethnic Studies and professor in the UW Department of English, has been at the UW for 27 years; however, as a high school student, no professor or counselor suggested that he attend college until his senior year.
“In my own experience, I was a good student,” Guerra said. “I know there’s a lot of good students right now who come from low-income and working class communities who are very smart, but are ignored because they’re students of color or poor. It’s important for the university and public schools to acknowledge that they have something to contribute.”
Current Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) programs focus on recruiting and retaining students from historically underserved communities, which include students who are low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minorities. This support occurs through college access programs at the K-12 and university level, student success through advising, institutional transformation through staff diversity efforts, and the university-wide council.
“We want to make sure students we work with have the programs, services, and support they need. Because many of them are first-generation, they don’t know [the resources],” said Rickey Hall, UW vice president of OMA&D and chief diversity officer. “We’re getting them information at right time and working with their parents so they’re ready to come to place like [the] UW or someplace else.”
Guerra and Hall were excited that the UW announced its commitment to graduate an additional 125 low-income students per cohort by 2025 through the American Talent Initiative (ATI). Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the ATI brings together a group of private and public colleges to increase access and opportunities for talented low-income students across the nation.
The UW joined the ATI as a founding member of the alliance in 2016. Long-term, the ATI and the participating institutions strive to graduate an additional 50,000 low-income students across institutions...