The Division of Enrollment Management has been proud to help promote and coordinate recent initiatives aimed at improving services and awareness of the challenges faced by under-resourced students at IUPUI. The demographics are clear: if IUPUI is going to successfully implement our ambitious strategic plan, all IUPUI faculty and staff need to understand our challenges—as well as our opportunities—to improve the student success of a growing population of under-resourced students.
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Reaching Higher, Achieving More outlines an ambitious goal: by 2025, Indiana must substantially increase the proportion of Hoosiers with a high-quality degree or credential. These state efforts are joined by national initiatives led by, among others, the Lumina Foundation for Higher Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, all of whom have developed plans to increase higher education attainment in the U.S. by 2025.
The Lumina Foundation, in particular, has been helpful in developing tools for our “Beyond Financial Aid” campus initiatives.
Lumina notes that institutions can meet their commitment to producing more equitable outcomes by improving their efforts to reduce financial hardships among low-income students.
Beyond Financial Aid (BFA) efforts at IUPUI build upon three guiding principles: (1) A large and growing number of postsecondary students face the challenges created by limited resources. In fact, approximately one in three American undergraduates receive a Pell grant and is therefore considered a low-income student. (2) When institutions structure and offer all types of financial aid (including nontraditional supports) in a coherent, consumable way, students will persist longer, generate additional revenue for the institution, and graduate at higher rates. (3) Providing these supports in an intentional way is not an impossible dream. Colleges across the country are already doing it and doing it well.
This last point is worth emphasizing: colleges across the country are providing intentional supports for under-resourced students and are doing it well. In fact, the challenge and opportunity at IUPUI is to improve the graduation rates of our lowest income students the way some of our peers have.
Each and every IUPUI faculty and staff member plays a role in making IUPUI a welcoming campus—as well as a “staying and graduating” campus. Faculty and staff should never underestimate the important role they play in facilitating student success. This led to the development of a website specifically dedicated to faculty and staff about how to serve our under-resourced students at IUPUI.