I was delighted to read that more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide — including nine in Pennsylvania — have committed to increasing opportunities for low-income students (“Nine Pa. Colleges Join National Effort to Fund Low-Income Students,” Jan. 17).
Along with my colleagues at Duquesne University, I congratulate these nine schools on their efforts to support these students. There are so many academically talented, but economically disadvantaged, students in this country who need better access to higher education. More than 40 years ago, I was one of those students.
Since our founding in 1878, Duquesne has served the underserved, beginning with the immigrant children of mill workers. A core tenet of our mission is that all qualified applicants, regardless of financial means, should have access to a Duquesne education. This year Duquesne awarded $137 million in financial aid and scholarships. Ninety-five percent of our current freshmen received financial assistance from Duquesne. We also have many programs in place that support the success of low-income students. One result of this is that our students with the greatest need, Pell Grant recipients, have successfully graduated at the same high rate as all other Duquesne students.
Again, we congratulate these universities on their efforts. Together we can continue to ensure that disadvantaged students gain access to life-changing opportunities through higher education.