University of Pittsburgh
August 15, 2019

Pitt Joins the American Talent Initiative to Expand Access to Students with Financial Need


PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh has joined the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of 120 four-year institutions united in a goal of enrolling, supporting and graduating 50,000 additional talented, lower-income students by 2025.

“The question of whether or not the University of Pittsburgh should join the American Talent Initiative ended in an automatic yes,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “It shares our commitment to graduating — and not just enrolling — exceptional students. And it aligns seamlessly with our ever-evolving suite of access and affordability efforts, which aim to connect more deserving students and families with a world-class Pitt education.”  

Since 2014, the University has doubled its annual investment in students with financial need and added eight initiatives focused on enhancing access to Pitt. Earlier this year, the University launched initiative No. 7 — Pitt Success — which matches federal Pell Grant support dollar-for-dollar and is the only program of its kind in the nation.

Initiative No. 8 — ATI — will see the University regularly convening with other participating institutions to share best practices and data. Members of the initiative will also contribute to research that aims to enhance support for students from lower-income backgrounds.

“Chancellor Gallagher has shown tremendous leadership in his university’s efforts to increase enrollment and support of lower- and middle-income students on campus,” said Michael Drake, president of The Ohio State University and member of the ATI Steering Committee. “I’m thrilled to welcome the University of Pittsburgh to the American Talent Initiative and look forward to learning and coming together to share best practices in order to advance the collective mission.”

Pitt is one of only 320 institutions in the United States to meet ATI’s eligibility criteria, which requires institutions to graduate at least 70% of their students in six years. This constitutes less than eight percent of the approximately 4,200 higher education institutions in the country.

“In joining the American Talent Initiative, I am very excited that we will be able to collaborate closely with institutions that share our deep commitment to educational access and equity. Earlier this year, we launched the Pitt Success Program, which supports students in need who might otherwise not be able to afford a college education. This is one important step among many we expect to take,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd. “We are eager to contribute to discussions with our peers in ATI so that, working together, we can address this critically important challenge in lasting ways.”

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R co-manage ATI, which is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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