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Founded last year, the American Talent Initiative is a Michael Bloomberg-funded effort to enroll more lower-income students at prestigious colleges with high graduation rates. The project, which is being coordinated by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S&R, began with 30 colleges and universities as participants. In the 12 months since its kickoff, the effort has expanded to include 86 institutions.

Likewise, six participating institutions, including Yale University, the University of Washington and Elizabethtown College, have released "specific action plans to support these students socially, academically and financially, from before they arrive on campus to graduation and beyond," according to a written statement from the initiative.

"America is the world’s greatest meritocracy, but too often a parent’s income still determines a child’s likelihood of attending a great college," said Bloomberg. "The American Talent Initiative is aimed at fixing that, and the program’s momentum is building: more top schools are committing to enrolling more talented students from lower-income families and drawing up concrete action plans to make that happen."

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