Bloomberg Philanthropies Recognizes Illinois Tech as an American Talent Initiative ‘High-Flier’ for Leadership in Access and Student Success

Illinois Institute of Technology named as one of 28 national leaders in lower-income student enrollment, serving as a model for colleges and universities across the country

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NEW YORK, NY and CHICAGO, IL—May 23, 2023—Bloomberg Philanthropies today recognized Illinois Institute of Technology as an American Talent Initiative (ATI) High-Flier, a group of 28 high-graduation-rate institutions that are national leaders in college access and success for lower-income students. Illinois Institute of Technology received the distinction for its high Pell share and innovative recruitment, enrollment, and retention practices. Over the next year, ATI and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with High-Fliers to amplify what they have learned to other four-year colleges and universities across the nation. The full list of ATI’s 28 High-Fliers is available below.

An initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, ATI serves as a growing nationwide alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities grounded in the belief that they can collectively expand access for tens of thousands of high-achieving, lower-income students. By doing so, these institutions are increasing socioeconomic diversity within their respective student communities.

"The economic fallout from the pandemic has made it even more important for schools across the country to adopt innovative new ways to attract and retain students from under-represented backgrounds," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “I applaud ATI's 28 High-Fliers for leading the way in this work and increasing the diversity of their campuses. We hope their efforts serve as an example for other schools that are committed to creating opportunity for more lower-income students, so we can accelerate national progress on this critical challenge.”

Since ATI’s launch in 2016, Illinois Institute of Technology has maintained one of the highest Pell shares among their 137 peers. 

Illinois Institute of Technology has preserved widespread access and success through initiatives like its Elevate program. Elevate played a vital role in achieving its largest undergraduate class in years, resulting in a remarkable 25 percent enrollment increase last fall. Elevate offers guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and comprehensive career readiness. The program also drove a surge of 20-plus percent in undergraduate applications and 40-plus percent in graduate applications in just one year. Notably, Elevate consistently attracted more applications from underrepresented minority students, first-generation college students, and women (resulting in a significant 31 percent increase).

“At Illinois Tech, our work with the American Talent Initiative and our Elevate iniative's achievements reflect our unwavering dedication to be an opportunity engine for all,” said Raj Echambadi, President of Illinois Institute of Technology. “Illinois Tech ranks #1 in Illinois for high earnings combined with racial and economic diversity, and we lead the state and much of the nation in  ROI, with 2022 graduates reporting average starting salaries well above the national average. This success is a testament to our commitment to fueling economic mobility and advancing technology and innovation for the common good.”

This progress has been particularly evident in the two years since Illinois Institute of Technology reaffirmed its commitment to this work through ATI’s Accelerating Opportunity campaign. Along with their fellow ATI members, they set public, aspirational lower-income student enrollment goals for the first time to help combat the lingering impacts of the pandemic. Two years in, Illinois Institute of Technology is achieving their Accelerating Opportunity goal to hold at 20-plus percent Pell share. They also are advancing a shared commitment among all 137 ATI members to close equity-based retention and graduation gaps. 

As a result of Illinois Institute of Technology’s leadership in ATI and the Accelerating Opportunity campaign, thousands of additional lower-income students across the United States are accessing and earning bachelor’s degrees. Data shows these students are historically more likely to have higher wages, pursue graduate degrees, become entrepreneurs, and engage in their communities.

For more information on ATI and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ other initiatives to expand college access and success, please visit: https://www.bloomberg.org/education/expanding-college-access-and-success/ 

List of American Talent Initiative High-Fliers (in alpha order)

  • Baruch College (New York, NY)
  • Boston University (Boston, MA)
  • Centre College (Danville, KY) 
  • Claremont McKenna College (Claremont, CA) 
  • Colby College (Waterville, ME)
  • George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
  • Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL)
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) 
  • Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ)
  • State University of New York at Oneonta (Oneonta, NY)
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) 
  • Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY)
  • Towson University (Towson, MD)
  • University of California, Merced (Merced, CA)
  • University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • University of Dayton (Dayton, OH) 
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • University of Texas-Austin (Austin, TX)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO) 
  • Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA)
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT)

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.7 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The American Talent Initiative

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) is a Bloomberg Philanthropies-supported collaboration between the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, Ithaka S+R, and more than 135 top colleges and universities nationwide committed to making progress toward their Accelerating Opportunity lower-income student enrollment goals by 2025. To realize this milestone, ATI facilitates research, practice-sharing, and communications campaigns around presidential leadership, access and affordability, community college transfer, student veteran engagement, and student success and equity in the academic experience. With this support, members can make measurable progress toward their aspirational lower-income student enrollment goals and minimize equity-based graduation gaps by 2025. To learn more about ATI, visit https://americantalentinitiative.org/.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit iit.edu.

Media contacts

Petra Kelly
Communications Director
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773-771-1064
pkelly6@iit.edu 

Jamila Johnson
Bloomberg Philanthropies
jamila@bloomberg.org 

Adam Rabinowitz
Aspen Institute College Excellence Program
adam.rabinowitz@aspeninstitute.org