The Georgetown administration has historically demonstrated a strong commitment to creating a diverse student body. But doing so requires supporting low-income students through an extensive need-based scholarship and mentorship program, and recently, as reflected in the university’s drop to 88th from 46th in The New York Times’ ranking of colleges doing most for low-income students, low-income accessibility at Georgetown has faltered. To bridge the economic gap on campus, the university should join a coalition of colleges and universities attempting to make college affordable and accessible and put a greater emphasis on the services and aid offered by the Georgetown Scholarship Program.
The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, composed of 80 highly ranked universities and colleges, aims — through a free online platform including a database, application system and portfolio — to make college affordable and accessible for students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The coalition does so through this platform with tools that streamline the experience of planning and applying to both college and financial aid, making it easier and more transparent for all students. For one, the online virtual locker, a private space where students can organize materials for later use in their applications, allows less privileged students to begin planning early with the help of teachers who offer guidance through editing and feedback. The integrated application process on the platform also offers transparent information on financial aid and what students can get awarded. By joining the coalition, which is still seeking members, Georgetown would be making its admissions process more attractive to low-income students by lowering the greatest barriers to college: prior planning and lack of financial aid transparency.
Aside from joining this coalition, the administration should emphasize the importance and usefulness of the GSP when touring the country.
To make Georgetown competitive in relation to its peer institutions in attracting talented low-income students, the administration must emphasize the unique role GSP plays in providing guidance to and ensuring the success of students on financial aid. This, coupled with an emphasis on how helpful the Office of Student Financial Services is in finding the best option available to students, would boost the image of Georgetown as an accessible school. Greater funding to GSP through a coordinated drive of alumni donations should also be considered to further reduce the loan component of a student’s financial aid package, making the university more attractive to students who could not afford to attend otherwise.
To fulfill the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ vision and make Georgetown a school for all types of students, the administration must take these steps to make the university accessible to students from diverse backgrounds and ensure their success once accepted.