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Barnard College Expands Measures to Increase College Access for Low-Income Students

Today Barnard announced a series of new and broadened initiatives to increase access and opportunity for low-income students. The news coincides with Barnard President Debora Spar’s attendance at a White House summit, hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, where college and university presidents from around the nation gathered with leaders from nonprofits, foundations, state governments, and businesses to discuss a plan of action for improving access to higher education. Learn more about the White House summit.

“The White House summit was an important occasion to hear from President Obama on a critical issue facing this country, and for distinguished leaders to share ideas for moving toward a more equitable and accessible higher education system,” said President Spar, who also spoke with Bloomberg News about the summit and its potential outcomes. “One of my top priorities is ensuring that a Barnard education is available to the brightest and most qualified young women in the country, and I am hopeful that our new efforts will help us expand opportunities to a broader spectrum of students in the coming years.”

By increasing efforts to reach disadvantaged students, Barnard will build upon a long history of involvement with New York State's Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and other initiatives to increase education access, including:

  • Barnard will seek to reach 25 percent more students through its “Barnard Bound” program, which offers low-income high school seniors a chance to visit campus and get a sense of college life before the application process begins. The College will also expand campus visit opportunities to young women who qualify for HEOP.
  • Barnard will increase outreach to low-income families from New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, as well as community colleges in the New York metro area and nationwide.
  • Additional students will be invited to participate in the “Barnard Opportunity Program,” which offers non-New York State students the HEOP experiences of a summer session before freshman year as well as ongoing tutoring and advising support.
  • Barnard will aim to partner with New York community-based organizations to help increase by 10 percent the number of students receiving support for Barnard’s “Pre-College Program.”
  • Barnard will identify new high schools with low-income populations and work with these high schools to present their students with workshops on the college admissions process, as well as opportunities to learn about financial aid.

These new efforts will enhance Barnard’s existing on- and off-campus enrichment programs and partnerships with community-based organizations to attract low-income students. The College currently offers a comprehensive science and mathematics enrichment and college preparatory program to approximately 85 middle and high school students each year. Through the HEOP and Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Programs, Barnard works with low-income undergraduates interested in STEM fields by providing a variety of support services throughout the year and a summer bridge program before college begins. These two programs serve 120 students each year and have a proven track record with graduation rates that surpass the national average.

“For many years, our existing partnerships and enrichment programs have helped us reach and graduate incredibly smart, talented, and bold students,” said Jennifer Fondiller, Dean of Enrollment Management. “With these expanded efforts, we aim to help more superb young women find their way to Barnard without financial obstacles.”

Barnard enrolls 2,500 students from every state and over 50 countries, and approximately 22 percent are the first in their families to attend a four-year college. Fifty percent of Barnard students receive some form of financial aid, with 18 percent receiving federal Pell grants.