Smith Cited as Leader in Access for Low-Income Students
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College has been recognized by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education as the nation’s leader in enrollment of low-income students, based on the number of students who receive Pell Grants.
Among liberal arts colleges, Smith enrolled the highest number of students with Pell Grants in the year studied, 2003. More than a quarter of Smith students that year—
27 percent—received grants through the federal tuition aid program that is based on need.
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, which published its findings this month, based its analysis on information provided by the Department of Education.
This is not the first report to single out Smith for its longstanding commitment to access for low-income students.
In 2002, a study cited in the New York Times found that schools with “need-blind” admission policies—those that accept students without taking into account their ability to pay—actually have fewer poor and working-class students than private liberal arts colleges without such policies, such as Smith.
Smith has historically been a leader in seeking out first-generation college students, as well as women of nontraditional age who enroll in the college’s Ada Comstock Scholars Program. Since 1975, the program has enabled women who are at least 24 years old to earn a bachelor’s degree. There are now more than 230 students enrolled in the program.
The College recently built on that tradition with a new program. Beginning in fall 2005, the Smith Community Scholars program will provide up to full tuition for two years at Smith for three community college students who transfer into Smith with associate’s degrees.
The program, made possible by a $500,000 gift from Janet McKinley, a trustee and member of the Class of 1976, will benefit community college transfer students who have significant financial need.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.
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