University cabinet focuses on accessibility to higher education

Yale daily news

Yale’s highest governing body held its last meeting to discuss how to increase access to the college for students and veterans transferring to the college.

Each month, the office of University President Peter Nightingale, consisting of deans and vice presidents of the university, meets to discuss a number of university priorities. According to Pericles Lewis, vice president of global strategy and vice vice rector for academic initiatives, the January meeting included a presentation on the enrollment of students and veterans in public colleges. The meeting was led by Catherine Bond Hill ’85, Managing Director of Ithaka S + R and former Senior Trustee.

“El is traditionally a very elite institution,” Lewis told News. “But I think President Nightingale and Ding Chun, the former Ding Holloway who was before him, and Ding Quinlan have made it a real priority to expand access to Yale, and I think that’s extremely important.”

Hill joined Ithaka S + R, a non-profit organization working to “expand access to higher education by reducing costs and improving student outcomes,” according to their website in 2016, after 10 years served as president of Vassar College. In Vasari, she worked to form a partnership with the Posse Foundation to begin a program to admit veterans to Vasari.

Lewis told the News that Hill is well aware of the “higher education enterprise” and that she shared her experience at Vassar and current research with the entire cabinet.

Undergraduate Dean Jeremiah Quinlan wrote to the news that Yale is linked to Ithaka S + R through the American Talent Initiative, which the university joined as its first member in 2016. Members of the “Make a Public Commitment” initiative will increase the number of low-income students in their schools and discuss best practices with other member schools.

ATI is co-chaired by Ithaka S + R and the Aspen Institute College College Professional Development Program. Quinlan wrote that ATI recognized the university for its rapid growth in low-income students, and the university participated in their conferences, which discussed the recruitment of veterans since their inception in 2018.

Lewis told News that the cabinet meeting focused on “broad trends” in higher education. He said the meeting focused on issues related to veterans and students of public colleges, including the development of a program for Eli Whitney’s students.

Hill told the News that public colleges are “a great access point.” About a million students each year begin studying at public colleges across the country, she said, and 80 percent initially plan to earn a bachelor’s degree, but only 13 percent eventually receive a bachelor’s degree within six years of enrolling in a public college. Hill attributed the inconsistency mainly to credit transfer issues, especially in schools where individual university departments have to approve transfer credits.

“I think the problem in America is that the transportation pipeline isn’t working very well,” Hill said.

Hill explained that some four-year universities have agreements with public colleges to ensure that their credits are transferred. However, she also said that it is necessary to work both on a public college to help with counseling and support, and with a four-year university to facilitate the transfer of loans.

Yale University’s current policy is to admit all student translators with 8-18 points in the Yale academic year, depending on their transcript. When evaluating transcripts for the award, Yale does not consider whether he comes from a two-year public college or a four-year college.

“I have repeatedly said in many places that we need all segments of higher education to work to raise the level of education, and public colleges are trying to do that, and they have very few resources,” Hill said. “So if we could get more public funding and support from community colleges, they could invest in some of the best practices that we know work.”

Hill stressed that addressing the challenges facing public college students involves both community support and an “ongoing assessment” of how to fix current programs.

“You can do a great job by investing and improving community colleges,” Hill said. “But if students can’t transfer and get a four-year degree, you have an obstacle here.”

Hill said these problems for students with transfer are exacerbated for adult learners – those who have attended a public college in the past and want to get an education later in life – as they often cannot access their past transfer credits or have such factors as a job or family that prevent them from seeking a four-year education.

Ellie Whitney’s student program is one of the university’s initiatives to admit students to public colleges, and Yale College recently announced an improvement in financial aid policies for Ellie Whitney’s students. The university will now cover the full cost of attendance for Eli Whitney’s students with demonstrated needs and provide a childcare grant for students with children.

Patricia Wei, Eli Whitney’s Director of Admissions and Veterans Director, wrote to the news that the university has several efforts to reach public college students. For example, Wei wrote that the admissions team appeals to members of the Phi Theta Kappa Society of Honor for public college students, and they also hold information sessions on Eli Whitney’s Yale program.

The University also collaborates with the Transfer Scholars Network, a group coordinated by the Aspen Institute. Wei noted that TSN includes 13 four-year institutions and seven community colleges with the overall goal of increasing the number of students from two-year colleges to four-year schools with high graduation rates.

In addition to focusing on ways to make Yale more accessible to public college students, the university cabinet also discussed issues related to recruiting veterans to study at four-year universities.

Hill told News that the main challenge facing admissions for veterans is to persuade veterans to enroll in a four-year university. She said that in 2021, there were more than 5 million veterans eligible to participate in the GI bill after 9/11, and two-thirds of them do not have a bachelor’s degree. But most veterans end up in the transfer pool when entering four-year universities, so face the same challenges as public college students. And despite ongoing research showing the usefulness of a bachelor’s degree, Hill said, many veterans don’t think they should enroll in a four-year university.

“When I started doing this work with veterans, I thought most of the challenge was to convince four-year schools to take veterans into first courses or transfers,” Hill said. “And there is the problem that the veterans themselves do not always know and do not believe that studying in a four-year school is the best option.”

She said veterans are twice as likely to go to college or university with more than 70 percent graduates than the average prospective student. She also said that problems have recently arisen because the standardized test, which veterans often take, the college-level exam program, became difficult to access during the pandemic.

Wei wrote to the news that Yale University does not take CLEP exams for enrollment or placement, but has worked with the college board to use the scores to determine candidates suitable for Yale.

“Fortunately, as with other sources of testing that the admissions committee uses to identify prospective students, … failures of CLEP-related CLEP exam administrations were not so common as to cause major changes in our coverage strategies, ”Wei wrote to the News. .

Wei added that Yale University fully agrees with Hill’s desire to see more veterans and students of public colleges in four-year colleges.

“Yale University is looking to expand the number of veteran and community college students, many of whom are adult students who are well-suited to the Eli Whitney student program,” Wei wrote.

The University continues its efforts to expand the reach of veterans and students of public colleges. For example, Wei wrote that the admissions team recently created and promoted informational videos, one for veterans and military and another for future students of Eli Whitney. Yale’s admissions team also works with organizations working with military and veterans who wish to pursue undergraduate studies, such as the School Service and the Warrior Scholar Project.

Finally, the Admissions Committee is conducting joint virtual information sessions with Williams College, Amherst College, Pomona College and Princeton University, targeted specifically at military and veterans, community college students and transfer advisors to community colleges.

The university cabinet has 24 members.


Sarah Cook covers President Nightingale’s office and works on the social networking team. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, she is a first year at Grace Hopper majoring in Neurology.

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