Two midstate colleges pledge to enroll more low-income students

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 27, 2017 11:17 AM
ATI Presidential Roundtable 2017.jpg

Photo by Franklin and Marshall

College presidents gathered recently in New York City, as part of the American Talent Initiative.

(Harrisburg) -- Two Lancaster County colleges are making a change. 

Franklin and Marshall and Elizabethtown College have both committed to enrolling more low-income students.

Franklin and Marshall is one of the leaders in the American Talent Initiative, while Elizabethtown recently signed onto the effort.

Colleges that are a part of the pledge to add more students from middle- and low-income backgrounds, recruiting in areas that may have been overlooked in the past.

To ensure success, only schools with graduation rates of 70 percent or higher are eligible to participate.

F and M President Dan Porterfield says he personally knows some of the students who are part of the initiative, and is thrilled with how it's been going.

"These are top students. They earn outstanding grades in their first semester at F and M. They came from high schools that prepared them well for college, and yet if it hadn't been for the presence of Franklin and Marshall College in their schools, actively recruiting them, they might not have chosen to apply to F and M," says Porterfield. 

Porterfield singled out students from Chambersburg in Franklin County and Biglerville in Adams County, who may have never thought of Franklin and Marshall, but are now thriving at the school.

"The American Talent Initiative is about seeking out, finding students like Kaylyn, Ben and Emily, investing in them, because they will benefit the whole student body, get a great education at our school, contribute to their own communities with a college degree and society," he adds.

F and M has nearly tripled its need-based financial aid as part of the initiative.

Franklin and Marshall's relatively small endowment could bring some financial challenges going forward, but Porterfield says the college doesn't view such potential limits as an excuse.

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