Illinois Tech Recognized as a National Leader in Lower-Income Student Access and Success


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Illinois Institute of Technology has been recognized as one of 28 national leaders in lower-income student enrollment by a renowned philanthropic organization.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has recognized Illinois Tech as an American Talent Initiative (ATI) High-Flier, defined as high-graduation-rate institutions that are national leaders in college access and in success for lower-income students. 

Illinois Tech received the distinction for its high Pell Grant share and innovative recruitment, enrollment, and retention practices. For the past two years, the university has achieved an ATI campaign goal to hold at 20-plus percent Pell share. 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 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 underrepresented backgrounds,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the former mayor of New York. “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 began tracking national data in 2016, Illinois Tech has maintained one of the highest Pell shares among its 137 peers. It has preserved widespread access and success through initiatives such as its Elevate program, which played a vital role in achieving the university’s largest undergraduate class in recent history, resulting in a 25 percent enrollment increase last fall. The program also drove a surge of 20-plus percent in undergraduate applications and 40-plus percent in graduate applications in 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). Data shows that these students are historically more likely to have higher wages, pursue graduate degrees, become entrepreneurs, and engage in their communities.

“At Illinois Tech, our work with the American Talent Initiative and our Elevate initiative’s achievements reflect our unwavering dedication to be an opportunity engine for all,” Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi says. “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.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ is a philanthropic nonprofit whose mission is to “ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people by focusing on five key areas: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation, and public health.” In 2022, it invested $1.7 billion around the world.