Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Mark Youndt
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.33 / 4.00 Karen Kellogg
Director of Sustainability
Dean of Faculty's Office
"---" 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:

Skidmore is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of any student we admit, although we do have budgetary constraints that guide the number of students we are able to admit. We have recently conducted much more extensive follow up with students who are low-income and/or from an underrepresented group to encourage them to complete their financial aid forms and complete them more thoroughly. This helps with both admission and financial assistance. In our Opportunity Program, we limit the loan level that is used when we meet need. This results in higher grant and lower indebtedness for the ~40 students per year in our Opportunity Program. We also have a lower deposit required for our Opportunity Students, and we waive the deposit entirely if necessary. Again, our Opportunity Program provides educational opportunity and support to students who have strong potential but would be excluded from higher education due to academic and economic disadvantage. Finally, during the interview process, we travel to lower-income students in an effort to reduce student costs.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

As articulated in other sections of our STARS submission, we have implemented various pedagogy workshops focused on teaching in a diverse classroom. We consider the many dimensions of diversity in these workshops, including economic diversity. These workshops are offered every year, and, in some cases, the workshops are mandatory. In addition to the workshops already described, as part of our first year experience program, we have offered faculty workshop training on how to assist students, especially in their first year, who have diverse preparations for college. We have also implemented a first generation faculty-student mentoring network that helps equip faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds. In addition, beginning this summer, the staff and faculty who participate in the Summer Academic Institute for our incoming Opportunity Program students will receive training prior to the arrival of students to help ensure that we are meeting all of their needs.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Both our Student Government Association and various offices, including our Academic Advising Office, have been implementing initiatives to better assist first generation students. For example, we have established a first generation faculty-student mentoring network. We are also intentionally reaching out to first generation students to ensure that they know about a variety of opportunities during their first year and throughout their time at Skidmore, including summer scholarship, mentoring on proposal development, and support for many other aspects of college life.

We also offer a first year orientation event that is required for all first year students. The event involves a panel of students across the classes (sophomore-senior) who talk in detail about how their how their identity and background framed their college experience. They talk about the challenges they faced and how they navigated those challenges. This is student-to-student event, with only a facilitator present, and is incredibly powerful. In addition, we have a specific budget for our first year experience for faculty to offer activities that will engage all students.

Even before students begin their first year, we offer some programming for students from underrepresented and low-income groups. For example, a subset of students and a guardian are funded to come to campus for our Discovery Tour, which is a tour that showcases academic life, student life, and interculturalism over a two-day visit. In addition, we travel to certain regions (e.g., the New York City area) to meet with families for a Q&A session, which includes reviewing financial aid packets. For our Opportunity Program students, we also travel to meet with families to go over the Summer Academic Institute schedule and ways they might support their students in the summer effort.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

Skidmore is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of any student we admit. In addition, with funding through the Kettering Fund we have endowed several Opportunity Program admission packages. Also through the Kettering Fund we provide a major cultural experience each year (e.g., travelling to New York City to see a play, etc.), which we are often able to open up to all Opportunity Program students.

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

As described in previous sections of our STARS application, our Discovery Tour is one example of our targeted outreach. In addition, we have a strong network of high schools, particularly in the New York City region and Ohio, that we work with closely on possible applicants to our Opportunity Program and the Admissions Office. We often travel to these high schools to connect with counselors and potential students. In addition, we also host a special fly-in to bring counselors from targeted areas to campus so they can learn more about Skidmore. We also do some targeted outreach to recruit international students from low-income backgrounds. We have approximately 100 international aided students at Skidmore at any given time.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

In addition to what we have discussed above, our Bias Response Group has looked at our policies for biases. Some actions that have come from these analyses include free housing for commencement weekend, bus transportation for our Celebration Weekend, and changes to our study abroad policy so that financial aid transfers seamlessly to these semester-long experiences and travel seminars. Through many other efforts, we have increased significantly the funding available for summer internships and other summer experiences that advance the intellectual development of our students, and we also reduced the cost of summer internship credit from $1700 to $250 per credit for students who want or need to seek academic credit for internships in the summer. As a result of all of these efforts, the number of our Pell-eligible students who are doing internships has increased significantly. In addition, we changed our policy on overload credits, and they are now free.

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:

While our institution is mainly focused on residential, full-time undergraduate education, any matriculated student, parttime or fulltime, is allowed to apply for grant assistance and is eligible for need-based aid. We also participate in the federal government Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans. We match the government's $10,000 grant to these students.

We also offer Skidmore Encore, which is a survey of liberal studies presentations by Skidmore College faculty for adult learners. For over 35 years, this program has been offered to adults age 55 and older from the local region. Skidmore College Faculty members deliver a lively array of presentations on topics and themes that change weekly and cover a variety of disciplines during the seven-week program offered each fall. The cost is minimal ($265) and scholarships are also available.

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:

We do have a child care facility on campus, and we are able to offer limited scholarships for those with demonstrated need.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

In addition to what is described above, Skidmore is currently considering certification programs that would be geared toward local and/or non-traditional students.

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:

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.