Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

American University
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.23 / 4.00 Hannah Moskowitz
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:
Through targeted awarding practices the financial aid office is able to assist low income students and families in defraying the cost of an AU education. Possible help includes federal grants, AU grants, and scholarships such as the Frederick Douglas Scholars Program. www.american.edu/financialaid AU also works with financing options of federal loans, alternative credit based loans, and a prepaid tuition plan allowing for advanced payment of tuition locking in the first year tuition rate.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:
Human Resources offers a training titled "Valuing Diversity": The differences people bring to the workplace can promote tremendous creativity and innovation. Those same differences, however, also can contribute to misunderstandings as we bump up against each other with our different styles and work ethics. This course creates awareness of how to recognize and appreciate differences leading to more options and better problem solving. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) offers a workshop for the AU community entitled "Paving the Way: Working with First Generation College Students" which provides an overview of common challenges facing first-generation college students. Participants increase their awareness of this growing population at AU and receive helpful strategies to better understand and support these students as it relates to their work. Through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the AU community is invited to the "Unmasking Your Privilege" workshop. Through this workshop, participants will develop a better understanding of their own multiple identities, explore personal experiences they have had with privilege and oppression. Participants will have the opportunity to critically evaluate how we are socialized to adopt beliefs that maintain harmful attitudes and behaviors in U.S. society.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) offers a series of workshops and training for first generation students, including: CDI's professional development workshop, Paving the Way: Working with First-Generation College Students. CDI's First Generation Workshop connecting students with faculty and staff who were also first generation to go to college in their family CDI's monthly First-Generation Focus e-newsletter and to "get tips to make the most out of your experience." Pertnerships with financial aid and the career center to serve first generation students.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:
The Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research has graduate assistantship programs for masters and PhD students for underrepresented minorities. One is the "Hall of Nations" which specifically supports international students; another is the "Special Opportunity Program" which supports minority students from the US.http://www.american.edu/spa/admissions/tuition.cfm The Frederick Douglass Scholarship http://www.american.edu/financialaid/fdsprogram.cfm The Scholarship promotes educational access and opportunity while enhancing educational diversity. Bringing together the best of AU—academic excellence, leadership development and international engagement—Frederick Douglass Scholars inspire, encourage and expect high achievement. Together, they are AU's premier academic community for enterprising students dedicated to careers in social justice and improving under-resourced, underserved communities around the world. As of Fall 2015, fifteen students are attending the university as Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars. The scholarship provides full tuition, room and board and is renewable for a total of four years of undergraduate study, provided scholars satisfy academic performance requirements. Preference is given to first-generation students as well as those from diverse ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:
Admission and Financial Aid participate in school visits and present financial aid workshops to local DC public Schools such as SEED Public Charter School. Admission also offers online recruitment events to engage students and parents who are not able to visit campus in person.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:
AU has established an Emergency Financial Aid Fund to ensure that students whose situations change significantly are able to continue their studies through to graduation, despite financial challenges they may face on the way. Most recently, we’ve focused on our financial aid distribution process. Since 2009, we have shifted our institutional expenditures from merit to need-based aid to mitigate cost, increase affordability and decrease student indebtedness. We have also committed to funding low income Pell-eligible students.

Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:
All graduate school merit scholarships are applicable to part time and full time students. There are scholarships available to part time undergraduate students as part of the "restricted" scholarship funding.

A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:
AU offers support for students who need to take time off of school to assist sick children. AU Child Development Center -Factulty, Staff, and Students can utilize the benefits of this center. The CDC provides high-quality education and care for children 2-1/2 to 6 years of age. Their core mission is to offer a developmentally appropriate educational program for pre-school children, while supporting the family unit within the campus community, as well as the overall educational mission of the university. The CDC provides primary family caregivers within the AU community opportunities to pursue a university education or career; support for their families with a high-quality child care; as well as an educational experience for university students interested in early childhood education and parenting. http://www.american.edu/hr/CDC/about.cfm

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:
The STANDwithAU initiative across all of AU campus life is dedicated to strengthening the culture of respect and integrity. "We are American University. We believe any act of violence, bullying, hate, abuse, rape, or harassment is one too many. When our culture of integrity, respect, and support is threatened, we do not stand by passively. We stand together and help." This initiative is a media and social campaign to address issues of sexual violence and discrimination based on gender, race, and sexual orientation, creating a safer and more inclusive space for students of all backgrounds. http://www.american.edu/standwithau/index.cfm In Fall 2016, the Office of Campus Life offered a workshop dialog entitled "THE YOU THAT YOU CREATE: PERSONAL STORIES OF IDENTITY, DIFFERENCE & POWER" which addressed how people experience the effects of race, class, dis/ability, gender, and sexual identities. The event opened with AU faculty talking with each other about their journeys through life using the lens of identity, difference, and power. The discussion then turned from these life experiences to audience comments, stories, and questions.

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):

On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):

Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Financial Aid information does not include WCL Affordability: http://www.american.edu/initiatives/collegeaffordability/how-AU-is-addressing-college-costs.cfm

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.