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Colleges Make Progress in Year Since White House Pledge

As part of the Presidential and Department of Education_x000D_
College Opportunity Event in January 2014, leaders across academia and in various scholastic_x000D_
fields met with key policy makers in Washington, D.C., to discuss the nature of higher_x000D_
education. Recognizing the growing increase in diversity amongst college_x000D_
admissions and a subsequent need for greater access to college for low-income_x000D_
Americans, the committee devised national guidelines for insuring both_x000D_
secondary and university success.

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The program called on colleges across the country to submit updated_x000D_
institutional commitments to low-income and first-generation students. Administration_x000D_
from each of the 5Cs attended the summit and presented their own policy_x000D_
enhancements. 

CMC

Claremont McKenna College launched The Student Imperative to_x000D_
fulfill the goals that they pledged in January 2014.

CMC’s largest initiative is to raise $100 million of_x000D_
endowment to provide better financial aid for students, according to the pledge._x000D_
CMC also pledged to increase the number of cohort groups on campus. Cohort groups are a small_x000D_
group of 5-6 students of low-, moderate-, or middle-income families or_x000D_
have special academic interests.

According to an article written by Associate Vice President_x000D_
of Admission and Financial Aid Georgette_x000D_
DeVeres and Director of Leadership Giving Josh Walter CM ’01 in the winter_x000D_
issue of CMC’s magazine, while it was ordinary to have more than 50-60 percent of_x000D_
students at CMC receive financial aid, the class of 2018’s number dropped under_x000D_
50 percent.

“While that signals that many of our families can afford the_x000D_
cost of a CMC education, that number also sends another implicit message to_x000D_
many mid- and lower-income families: Only those who can meet the full cost need_x000D_
apply,” DeVeres and Walter wrote. “As a result, many passionate, motivated students … disqualify themselves_x000D_
before even filling out an application.” 

According to President Hiram Chodosh, the campaign has_x000D_
raised $65 million so far. DeVeres and Walter wrote that the fund will be used to_x000D_
support “institutional resources, loans, grants, ROTC funding,” and more.

The college is also continuing efforts to build cohorts of_x000D_
first- and second-year students, such as the Dreier Roundtable, the Wagner Family_x000D_
Global Scholarships Program and the Conte Scholars Program. The latter program was_x000D_
established by business leader and policy entrepreneur J.P. Conte and began_x000D_
last fall. Edgar Morelos CM ’16 is a Conte Scholar who was at a community_x000D_
college before coming to CMC.

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“One of the reasons that I had to go to community college is_x000D_
because I don’t have access to a lot of financial aid resources, so coming to_x000D_
CMC the Conte Scholars made a huge difference. I didn’t have to take any loans,”_x000D_
Morelos said. “I know I’m privileged to have it and I want to try to make the_x000D_
most of it … so eventually I can open the doors for other people in my_x000D_
community.”

-Diane Lee

HMC

Harvey Mudd College made a pledge to guarantee every student one summer of_x000D_
experiential learning. According to Assistant Vice President_x000D_
for Communications and Marketing Tim Hussey, this includes “research with a faculty member, an internship or a public service opportunity.”

The pledge also included building on their efforts to support_x000D_
women, minorities and first generation college students at the college and build K-12 STEM awareness. As of the end of 2014, HMC has raised just over $13 million to spend towards experiential learning.

HMC will continue to reach out to potential donors such as alumni, parents, and friends of the college to get more funding.

“The greatest obstacle continues to be securing enough_x000D_
lasting funding to make the pledge a reality,” Hussey wrote in an email to TSL.

Peter Saeta, a professor of physics and the physics_x000D_
department chair, said that there are not enough_x000D_
research opportunities for all physics majors currently because of insufficient funding. The_x000D_
department is working with alumni to raise more money for this purpose.

“Having opportunities for all_x000D_
majors by the time they graduate is essential,” Saeta said.

According to_x000D_
Hussey, research opportunities have always been a key factor_x000D_
in drawing potential applicants.

“As we expand_x000D_
opportunities for summer experiential learning, I would expect that interest_x000D_
would only grow,” Hussey wrote.

HMC has also kept up its support for women. In an update on_x000D_
their progress in June, HMC reported that they had_x000D_
graduated their first majority female engineering class, with 56 percent. 

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HMC has also created two new programs to generate K-12 interest in_x000D_
STEM. The college has developed and launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) physics course for high school students and is also in the_x000D_
process of launching a course for middle and high school teachers.

-Cai Glencross

Pitzer

Pitzer_x000D_
College committed to “partnering with_x000D_
new community based organizations (CBOs) nationally that serve disadvantaged_x000D_
students,” according to their pledge. The_x000D_
college’s “Pathways Initiative” also promised to increase_x000D_
visits by admission officers to CBOs and other low-income communities_x000D_
across the country. The initiative also aims to further increase the number of_x000D_
applications from first-generation students.

Interim Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid Jamila Everett wrote in an email to TSL that admission officers have visited_x000D_
over 25 CBOs in the 2013-14 recruitment cycle. Pitzer had already created a_x000D_
plan in summer 2014 to attract more first-generation students. As a result,_x000D_
there was a 40 percent increase in the number of applications from these students who make up 14 percent of the Class of 2018.

Pitzer has_x000D_
also increased its efforts in making the campus more inclusive of_x000D_
first-generation students with the creation of the First-Generation Program, “designed to help first-gen students feel at home_x000D_
on campus,” according to Everett. Resident_x000D_
Director Annie Greaney and Linda Lam, coordinator for the Center for Asian_x000D_
Pacific American Students, are overseeing the program; both were first-generation_x000D_
students. In the beginning of the school_x000D_
year, the college hosted a first-generation social.

“It was a great event to bring_x000D_
faculty, current students, and staff members who are also first-generation_x000D_
students together to discuss the challenges and opportunities and to create a_x000D_
network of support,” Everett wrote.

Looking forward, Pitzer seeks to host a CBO summit for both local and_x000D_
national college counselors.

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“Overall, we are doing extremely well with meeting our goals,” Everett said. “We_x000D_
obviously have more work to do but we are making huge strides in living_x000D_
Pitzer’s values by understanding the inequities in our educational system and_x000D_
actively recruiting, enrolling, and supporting students from all socioeconomic_x000D_
backgrounds.”

-Carlos Ballesteros

Pomona

Pomona College has a three-part plan in its White House_x000D_
pledge. First, it pledged that it would increase the number of Pell Grant_x000D_
recipients from 17 percent to 20 percent. Second, the college planned to accept a second Posse_x000D_
group. Finally, Pomona pledged to increase the number of transfer students from_x000D_
community colleges from 1-4 to 7-10 students per year according to the pledge.

The number of students receiving Pell Grant in the Class of 2018 was in_x000D_
the 19 percent range, according to President David Oxtoby.

Oxtoby also said that the college will welcome its first_x000D_
Miami Posse group in the fall. The Posse Foundation connects high school students_x000D_
with its partner colleges to receive four-year, full-tuition scholarships. Pomona has_x000D_
had a Chicago Posse for 10 years.

This first group of 10 Miami Posse students have already_x000D_
committed to Pomona in January and will join the Class of 2019. Jazmin Ocampo_x000D_
PO ’17, a student in the Chicago Posse program, said that as a first-generation_x000D_
student, she appreciates the moral and academic support from Posse.

“It’s been more than just having people to have meals with. It’s_x000D_
been a connection more to home,” Ocampo said. “I don’t know if I would have_x000D_
felt comfortable being in this school if it weren’t for Posse and the community_x000D_
of Posse.”

Oxtoby said that the college is making efforts to build_x000D_
relationships with local community colleges and also visited Miami Dade College, a_x000D_
community college in Miami and the largest college in the U.S., in September 2014._x000D_

Oxtoby said that the White House provided a needed push not_x000D_
only for Pomona, but also across the nation.

“There are schools that are so far behind. We can do more at_x000D_
Pomona, I’m not saying we can’t do more but there are schools which are real_x000D_
laggards,” he said. “We’d been talking about this sort of thing and so it sort_x000D_
of pushed us to move a little bit faster than we might have otherwise.”

-Diane Lee

Scripps

Scripps College is concentrating their work on financial aid,_x000D_
outreach and student enrollment. In 2013, the college had already called for_x000D_
an expansion of the school’s endowment by $35 million by June 2018.

To increase admit rates for disadvantaged_x000D_
students, the school also intended to expand its QuestBridge_x000D_
scholars program while capping the amount of debt a loan-recipient may face at_x000D_
under $18,000. The QuestBridge program provides support for underrepresented students in_x000D_
their college application process.

Lastly, the school encouraged active mentorship for local youth_x000D_
as well as increases to Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment_x000D_
(SCORE) and other resource programs on campus.

Thirteen months later, President Lori Bettison-Varga_x000D_
shared_x000D_
Scripps’ progress in reaching their goals and the $35 million goal.

“Individuals and foundations have donated these gifts. To date, we have raised_x000D_
$19 million toward the $35 million goal,” Bettison-Varga wrote in an email to TSL.

Scripps visited 11_x000D_
community-based organizations in the last year and participated in_x000D_
DecemberFest, a counselor tour hosted by The Claremont Colleges, Caltech, University_x000D_
of Redlands, Whittier and Occidental. With these steps in place, Scripps hopes to see all goals_x000D_
met with the arrival of the Class of 2022.

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“[This initiative] underscores our overriding commitment to_x000D_
make Scripps College as accessible as possible to as many qualified students as_x000D_
possible, regardless of financial need,” Bettison-Varaga wrote._x000D_
“Unlike many other similar-sized colleges, Scripps is committed to meeting the_x000D_
full need of each student.”

-Sean Gunther

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