UCF recently joined the American Talent Initiative, an alliance of more than 125 four-year institutions working together to enroll and graduate an additional 50,000 talented, lower-income students by 2025.

Joining the organization requires members to develop an action plan to recruit more students from economically diverse backgrounds, ensure that admitted lower-income students enroll and engage in campus life, prioritize need-based financial aid, and minimize gaps in progression and graduation rates between students of differing socioeconomic background.

UCF already works toward these goals for lower-income students on campus, but membership in the ATI teams up the university to work collectively toward a common national goal and convene regularly with others to share best practices and contribute to research that will help members effectively serve lower-income students.

Only colleges and universities with six-year graduation rates above 70 percent are eligible to become members of ATI. The U.S. Department of Education lists more than 4,000 degree-granting academic institutions, but the ATI says only about 320 reach that graduation threshold. Some of the other member organizations are Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton and Notre Dame. UCF and the University of Miami are  the only universities in Florida to be members.

ATI’s goal by 2025 is to increase the total number of low- and moderate-income students enrolled at these institutions by 500,000 to 550,000.

ATI is co-managed by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (www.aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence) and Ithaka S+R (www.sr.ithaka.org) and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.