Knox College Contributes to White House Education Initiative

New and expanded initiatives, historic commitment to educational access

January 16, 2014

Old Main at Knox College

Since its founding 177 years ago, Knox College has maintained a historic commitment to access for all deserving students, regardless of race, gender, class, or economic means. Knox alumni of all backgrounds have made significant contributions to the nation and world across a broad spectrum of fields, including the law, business, journalism, and public health.

In conjunction with today's White House summit on higher education, and in honor of Knox College's long-standing dedication to educational access, Knox is building on its current efforts by announcing a series of new and expanded initiatives aimed at enhancing the success of first-generation, low-income, or underrepresented college students.

Knox student with College for KidsThe White House released two reports for the summit, "Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students" and "Commitments to Action on College Opportunity." Knox College's commitments to expand college opportunity featured in "Commitments to Action on College Opportunity" include:

  • Knox College commits to a regional admission representative based in Chicago primarily dedicated to serving students from the Chicago Public School System to improve outreach and recruiting efforts for low-income students. This individual will assist students with completing applications, understanding financial aid, and developing interviewing skills to increase application completion among prospective students.
  • Knox also commits to doubling the number of transfer students from community colleges within 4 years -- efforts that will be supported by joining the Illinois Articulation Initiative and setting up a task force to strengthen and revise the existing articulation agreements with Carl Sandburg College, the local community college with which Knox currently has a 2+2 agreement.
  • Knox College TRIO Program OfficeKnox commits to an expansion of its existing TRIO Achievement program, which currently serves less than 30 percent of eligible students, and to continued progress in graduation and retention rates for low-income and first-generation college students. The TRIO program provides students with individualized support and comprehensive programming to promote academic success, personal growth, and a meaningful sense of community.
  • To expand the pool of low-income college-going students, Knox College commits to growing College 4 Kids, the College's current summer enrichment program for local students in grades 3-6, by one-third over the next 3 years. Half of participating students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Knox College will also strengthen and improve an existing three-way partnership with the local school district and Carl Sandburg College (CSC). These partners annually identify a new cohort of 15 first-generation, low-income 8th graders and provide dedicated counseling, enrichment, academic support, and full-tuition scholarships at CSC and Knox for those who complete the 4-year program.
  • Knox student in chemistry labKnox College commits to a new, innovative cohort-based program that offers scholarships, tutoring, seminars with visiting scientists, and other opportunities to help students with financial need to prepare for careers or graduate programs in the sciences. Knox also commits to supporting STEM departments in a redesign of introductory courses to take into account the broad range of students' preparation levels and learning styles. In addition, Knox College pledges to expand the participation of its faculty, staff, and students in after-school enrichment programs in Galesburg elementary schools with a high population of low-income students to increase exposure of low-income students to STEM fields.

Knox's commitment to access dates to its founding and continues today. Of Knox's 1,400 students, 26 percent are first-generation college students; 29 percent are from low-income, Pell-eligible backgrounds; 27 percent are U.S. students of color; and 76 percent receive need-based aid. With an endowment of under $100 million, Knox provides more than $20 million in institutional aid to needy students. Knox's efforts include a dedication to college affordability, and the college's net price has increased 2.3 percent per year over the past 5 years, essentially mirroring inflation. In addition, while at Knox, first-generation and low-income students are supported by highly-rated TRIO programs, including the McNair Program that prepares first-generation and low-income students for graduate school.

Chicago Tribune - Coverage of White House Announcement