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Urban School Initiative

Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016) 

Major cities and urban areas produce many outstanding students from diverse and underserved communities. However, due to a variety of institutional barriers and systemic inequalities, these highly talented students are not always aware of the postsecondary educational opportunities that are available to them outside their communities. In recognition of this fact, the University of Michigan will establish more formal relationships with highly effective college access organizations and community advocates across the country with the goal of encouraging students from these high need communities to apply to and attend U-M. Previously, this initiative focused exclusively on recruiting underserved students from urban schools but has been expanded in the last year to include rural and suburban communities so as to increase the footprint of our recruitment outreach efforts. These recruitment and enrollment programs will include in-person site visits and application workshops to meet students in their communities as well as on-campus visit programs and individualized digital engagement efforts.

Progress update

 In 2020–21, we continued our efforts toward building and sustaining intentional partnerships with community-based college access organizations and advocates. In addition, we worked closely with the Office of Financial Aid to provide CommunityBased Organization (CBO) Financial Awards to all admitted students in this program, which were instrumental in closing the gap between families’ EFC (expected family income) and funding awarded by U-M.

During Fall 2020, our strategic outreach team worked with college access counselors to identify interested students. They also hosted three virtual application workshops attended by 181 students. Collectively, these efforts yielded a 132% application increase from 2019 among interested prospective students affiliated with Community Partner organizations. Of the 149 students who applied, 91 were admitted as first-year undergraduates. The 32 who matriculated are projected to enroll in at least four of the seven freshman admitting units.

This cohort represents a diverse and highly talented group. Seventy-eight percent identify as members of an historically underrepresented minority group, and two-thirds have parent(s)and/or legal guardian(s) who self-report as a low-income household. Just under half of the cohort will be the first in their family to graduate from college.

To further advance our commitment in this space, U-M has joined the College Greenlight Equity Collaborative. This new multi-year project aims to promote college and university access for high-potential students from underrepresented groups. 

Responsibility: Office of Enrollment Management