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December 2022

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Santa Clara University Joins National Effort To Expand College Access And Success

The University seeks to accelerate college opportunities for talented students

Santa Clara University is proud to join the American Talent Initiative (ATI), a collective whose members aim to enroll 50,000 additional talented low- and moderate-income students at colleges and universities with strong graduation rates by 2025.
logo for the American Talent Initiative

SANTA CLARA, Calif.,  Dec. 1, 2022—Santa Clara University (SCU) is proud to join the American Talent Initiative (ATI), a collective whose members aim to enroll 50,000 additional talented low- and moderate-income students at colleges and universities with strong graduation rates by 2025.

SCU joins the work of more than 130 top-tier private and public institutions from across the nation — including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, fellow Jesuit institutions Fordham and Georgetown, and the entire University of California system — in accelerating opportunity and expanding access and success for talented students from lower-income backgrounds. As a member of ATI, SCU will develop strategies to attract and enroll students in college and support them through and after graduation. SCU will also collaborate with other ATI members and contribute to research that will help other colleges and universities expand opportunity. 

“I believe it is imperative that we embrace our responsibility as a Jesuit, Catholic university to make a greater contribution to social and economic mobility in our society,” said Santa Clara University President Julie Sullivan, who participated in ATI when she was president of University of St. Thomas as well. “Becoming a member of ATI is a vital step forward in Santa Clara’s commitment to being a community of learners that attracts more first-generation and low- and moderate-income students and truly reflects the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the world in which we live.”

SCU has joined its fellow members in pledging publically to an aspirational goal to increase lower-income student enrollment in the coming years. To realize this pledge, the University will establish specific goals and strategies to recruit more students from economically diverse backgrounds, increase investments in need-based financial aid, create more equitable student experiences, and ultimately minimize equity-based gaps in retention and graduation rates.

“Santa Clara University is proud to be a member of ATI. This initiative furthers our goal to make education accessible to talented students who will become leaders for a more humane, just, and sustainable world,” said Eva Blanco Masias, vice president for enrollment management. “The University is looking forward to working with our ATI partners to ensure students have an opportunity to attend college, gain their degrees, and realize their full potential."

SCU, which has a six-year graduation rate approaching 92 percent, has a number of programs that help students—especially those from first-generation families and low- and moderate-income backgrounds—attend the university and succeed.

  • The LEAD Scholars Program is for first-generation college students (students whose parents did not graduate from a four-year college or university) focused on academic success, community engagement and vocational exploration. This program is open to both first-year students and transfer students with the goal of supporting them throughout their college career.
  • For those interested in careers in environmental sustainability, The Silicon Valley Power Sustainable Futures Program provides students—especially those transferring to Santa Clara University from Mission College and other local community colleges—with funds to attend and receive advanced opportunities at Santa Clara University’s award-winning environmental and sustainability curriculum. 
  • The Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone Student Scholarship Fund, announced in October 2022, helps to recruit, retain, and educate Indigenous undergraduate students, with the goal of further diversifying the Santa Clara campus community and honoring and supporting our Ohlone partners. This is a need-based scholarship with priority granted to Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone students, though open to all Indigenous students whether from a federally recognized tribe or non-federally recognized tribe.
  • The Alberto Hurtado, S.J. Scholarship covers the cost of a four-year undergraduate education at SCU. This scholarship is set aside for students who have met the initial acceptance requirements of the University and who are considered most needy by terms of Federal eligibility.

About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see 

About The Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program 

The Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices and leadership that significantly improve student learning, completion, and employment after college—especially for the growing population of low-income and minority students on campuses nationwide. The College Excellence Program is part of The Aspen Institute, a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. 

About Ithaka S+R: 

Ithaka S+R is a not-for-profit service that provides research and strategic guidance to help the academic and cultural communities serve the public good and navigate economic, technological, and demographic change. Ithaka S+R is part of ITHAKA.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter.

Media Contact 

Lisa Robinson | Associate Director, Communications | | 408-551-3601


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