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 post-secondary 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.

Year Four Progress:

With regional recruiters in place, we focused on building intentional partnerships with community-based college access organizations and forging new connections with community partners in underserved areas nationwide. In all, 36 of the 63 students who applied to our first cohort in Fall 2019 were admitted. Of the 11 who matriculated, over half identify as members of underrepresented minority groups and nearly all will be the first in their families to graduate from college.

In 2019-2020, we directed our efforts toward building and sustaining intentional partnerships with community-based college access organizations and advocates in highly underserved urban areas. This included forging new connections with seven organizations and strengthening current relationships with our eight Community Partners. As a result, we were able to enhance our strategic recruitment in urban markets such as New York City and Chicago, where we have an established presence, and expand our work in emerging markets such as Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and St. Louis as well as cities in Ohio and South Carolina.

During Fall 2019, our Strategic Outreach team worked with college access counselors to identify interested students. They also hosted a two-day counselor fly-in program for Community Partner organizations. These efforts yielded a nearly 70 percent application rate among interested prospective students affiliated with Community Partner organizations. Of the 63 students who applied, 36 were admitted as first-year undergraduates. The 11 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. Over half identify as members of an historically underrepresented minority group, and two-thirds have parent(s)and/or legal guardian(s) who self-reported as a low-income household. Nearly all of the cohort will be the first in their family to graduate from college.

With the goal of advancing both outreach and recruitment, we fully implemented the College Board Environmental Context Dashboard, which provides contextual information on students attending specific high schools. Combined with our Community Partnership outreach and engagement efforts, this data allows our recruitment team to better identify potential areas of growth as we continue to expand the Community Based Recruitment Initiative. More importantly, it enables our recruiters and application readers to better understand the unique challenges faced by students from underserved communities whom we wish to attract and retain at U-M.

Responsibility: Office of Enrollment Management