- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - University of Michigan officials said the institution is joining a national alliance working to increase the enrollment and graduation of high-achieving students from low- and moderate-income families in the country’s top colleges and universities.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies is launching the project, known as the American Talent Initiative, with $10 million over the next two years. Its goal is to grow the number of students to 65,000 in the nation’s 265 top colleges and universities.

“Talent is distributed evenly throughout our society, but opportunity most certainly is not,” said UM President Mark Schlissel. “The University of Michigan is proud to partner on this historic initiative to address our nation’s pressing need to ensure equal opportunities for students across the socioeconomic spectrum.”

Even though graduating from a top school could increase a student’s income 25 percent, or about $450,000, over a lifetime, tens of thousands of students still don’t apply to those universities, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Many of America’s brightest students don’t apply to college simply because they lack access to the right information and guidance, particularly students from low- and middle-income families who want to go to competitive colleges but don’t think they can afford it,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The project will include matching high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students with advisers and sharing information on the real costs of college after scholarship and financial aid.

UM president Mark Schlissel said the project will address the county’s need to ensure equal opportunities for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

The initiative efforts will focus on research, teaching and practice.

Universities that will participate in the alliance with UM will include, Harvard University, University of California, Berkley and Spelman College.


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