Dozens of universities join Bloomberg-backed initiative to recruit low-income students
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Dozens of selective higher education institutions have joined an effort backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to recruit students from lower income brackets.

The Ivy League institutions, various University of California campuses and the University of Virginia are among the 56 schools to join the American Talent Initiative in 2017, The Washington Post reports. The total number of schools in the pact now stands at 86.

The initiative set a goal of adding 50,000 academically successful students with significant financial needs at around 270 schools by 2025. 

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Bloomberg told the Post he has supported the initiative because he does not believe the U.S. has done an adequate job of providing higher education opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

“I’m a believer that society needs more of the best and the brightest to get a good education,” Bloomberg told the newspaper. 

“This country is in competition with everybody else. If we leave people not participating — who could participate with a little bit of help and make a difference — shame on us."

The Aspen Institute and Ithaka S+R have asked colleges to set goals for the nationwide initiative, however, state and federal action will also play into whether the project is successful in the long term. 

“What states have done in defunding their educational systems is a disgrace, and it’s going to hurt those states,” Bloomberg told the Post. 

Bloomberg's comments come as Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDeVos: DOE to investigate if federal regs were broken in college admissions scandal DeVos moves to allow religious groups to provide federally funded services to private schools GOP bill would limit foreign student involvement in sensitive research projects MORE faces backlash for her policies on higher education.

DeVos announced new rules for giving financial aid to students claiming they were defrauded by their colleges, which limit some student loan refunds according to income, meaning student loan forgiveness would be determined by how much money they earn.