National Public Radio recently spoke with Amherst College President Biddy Martin and the heads of Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison about their participation in the American Talent Initiative, an effort to strenuously expanding the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s top-performing colleges.
Amherst was among was among 30 institutions that signed on to the initiative in 2016. To be able to belong, a college has to have a healthy graduation rate, 70 percent of their students in six years. About one third of the roughly 300 eligible institutions have signed on to the goal enrolling 50,000 additional low- and moderate-income students by 2025.
This commitment to economic diversity has a definite and positive impact on the life of a college, she said.
“I think the institutions have to let themselves be changed by the student bodies we have,” she said. “There's also a whole set of ways — including curriculum pedagogy and cultural dimensions of the place — that change as the student body changes, and that is a really wonderful and fascinating process to watch.”