Towson University joins national initiative to increase college access and success

TU becomes the newest member of the American Talent Initiative, a collective of 137 colleges and universities devoted to accelerating college opportunity

March 27, 2023

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Towson University has announced its membership in the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of more than 130 four-year institutions united in a shared goal of enrolling, supporting and graduating 50,000 additional talented, lower-income students across high-graduation-rate colleges and universities by 2025. ATI's work to increase access and success is more important than ever, especially amid a pandemic that disproportionately impacts talented students from lower-income backgrounds and communities of color.

As a result, Towson University sees membership in ATI as a critical opportunity to advance the institution’s commitment to supporting inclusive student success and advancing equity on its campus. TU will join ATI in providing social, academic and financial resources for students, before they arrive on campus until graduation and beyond. 

"As an anchor institution for Maryland and a nationally recognized leader in inclusive excellence, Towson University is always proud to partner with organizations that uplift our community, and the American Talent Initiative is the perfect example of this mission," said Interim President Melanie Perreault. "Joining ATI and these outstanding peer institutions will strengthen our ability to ensure student success, equity and diversity on our campus--three major priorities here at TU." 

ATI works with institutions across the country that graduate at least 70% of their students in six years—a threshold that just 341 colleges achieve—to increase the total number of low- and moderate-income students enrolled from about 550,000 to 600,000 by 2025.

In service of this aim, Towson University has joined its fellow members in pledging to a public, aspirational goal to increase lower-income student enrollment over the next several years. To realize this pledge, TU will establish specific goals and strategies to recruit more students from economically diverse backgrounds, increase investments in need-based financial aid, create more equitable student experiences and, ultimately, minimize equity-based gaps in retention and graduation rates. This aligns with TU’s own strategic enrollment plan, launched just last year, which focuses its efforts across the complete student lifecycle, with tactics delineated between recruitment and long-term student success.

“The timing of this partnership is significant — it comes as TU has rolled out its first strategic enrollment plan that only helps the university achieve its goals,” said Boyd Bradshaw, TU’s inaugural vice president for enrollment management. “This partnership with ATI will undoubtedly build upon TU’s competitive advantage while helping to identify opportunities amid a rapidly changing higher education marketplace.”

As a member of ATI, TU will work with more than 130 institutions to share best practices to increase college access and success—and contribute to research that will help other colleges and universities across the country effectively serve students from lower-income backgrounds. A complete list of member institutions is below.

ATI is co-managed by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information about the initiative, you can click here.