Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.64
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Smith College
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.52 / 4.00 Audrey Smith
Vice President for Enrollment
Offices of Admission and Student Financial Services
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Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

Smith has long been recognized as a leader in providing access to low income students. In 2015-16 Smith provided over $64 million in financial aid to 64% of our undergraduate students. Just under twenty-two percent of Smith students receive federal Pell grants which go to the students with highest need. An additional 151 international citizens (who are not eligible for Pell grants will be awarded institutional aid from Smith). The total funding offered to these international students totaled $7.1M.


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

During the recruitment process, Smith does a great deal to help students prepare for higher education. Following are some examples of the extensive outreach program: A member of the admission staff serves on the faculty of College Horizons, a residential summer program that prepares Native American students for college. Each year the admission office brings college counselors from community based organizations that serve low income students to campus to introduce them to Smith and our admission process. The College is a founding member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, and members of the financial aid staff participate in financial aid education programs in the local community.

Once students are enrolled at Smith, the College hosts a variety of programs and makes resources available for students from low-income background to support student success at Smith. See: https://www.smith.edu/doc/funding.php

As shown on the webpage linked above, some of the financial assistance programs are made available for textbook purchases, expenses to attend meeting and academic conferences, emergency travel home, emergency medical and dental, special studies work, graduation gown or ivy day dress, and fine arts supplies. These assistance programs are available to all Smith students.

Other programs to support students from low-income and underrepresented background to succeed at Smith include:

• AEMES – Achieving Excellence in Math, Engineering, and Science: team-based
approach (with faculty and peer mentors) to supporting students with a commitment to promote greater participation in the sciences by students from traditionally underrepresented groups including first-generation college students (those for whom neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree).
• Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning to support students from diverse educational backgrounds to succeed in quantitative learning and research. The Spinelli Center supports students doing quantitative work all across the curriculum. The center offers tutoring, quantitative skills workshops, and class study sessions outside the regular classroom.
• Jacobson Center for writing teaching and learning offers individual writing conferences; the opportunity to use student tutors or serve as a student tutor; and workshops on time management, study skills, public speaking, and other academic issues.
• Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program aimed at increasing the number of minority students, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue PhDs in core fields in the arts and sciences.
* The first-year class dean meets individually with all first year students and is particularly attentive to the social and academic needs of first-generation students.
* Orientation program for entering first-year, first-generation students.
* Mentoring program for first generation students (most of whom are low income).
* Online student employment guide to help navigate the process and experience of seeking on campus jobs. The guide covers procedures, rules, and guidelines for both students and employers for on-campus work study programs.
* Smith faculty are committed to ensuring that all classrooms are inclusive of all students regardless of background. In AY 2016-17 the Sherrerd Center for teaching and learning decided to devote much of their programming to creating inclusive classrooms. Each week they offer a luncheon for faculty focusing on a particular topic.
* The Center for Women and Financial Independence (WFI) is a resource at Smith College providing women with the skills and knowledge necessary to address financial issues that may arise in their personal, professional, family and community lives. This includes lessons in basic financial literacy, the opportunity to build an in-depth understanding of global financial markets, and tools for entrepreneurs and those seeking skills for successful self-employment.


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

Smith meets the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted student who complies with the financial aid deadlines. The majority of need is met with scholarship aid, the remainder with modest loans and on-campus work-study jobs.


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

Smith College aggressively participates in outreach programs in order to recruit students from low-income backgrounds and has been recognized as a national leader among liberal arts college in socioeconomic diversity.

The admissions office targets inner-city schools and community based organizations in recruitment efforts in order to attract students from low-income backgrounds. A robust alumnae volunteer program allows admission to expand outreach to sparsely populated areas where admission staff are unable to travel.

The admissions office is well aware that standardized test results are highly correlated with income, and therefore the submission of SAT and ACT scores optional and put more weight on teacher recommendations, high-school performance, and other measures as criteria for admission.

Smith's outreach initiatives to recruit students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds are made through programs such as:
-Posse (first group arrived in fall 2015) -Springfield/Holyoke Partnership (4 full-tuition scholarships)
-Holyoke and Greenfield Community College Partnerships (4 full-tuition scholarships)
-College Horizons (pre-college workshops for Native students)
-Alumnae Outreach
-Women of Distinction fly-in program for underrepresented students
-Discovery Weekend program for admitted underrepresented students
-Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP)-scholarships for low income students
-Multicultural Recruitment Luncheons/Dinners engaging current students in the recruitment process
-Multicultural Recruitment Working Group engaging faculty and staff across campus in the recruitment process

These programs are not only meant to recruit students from low income backgrounds, but are also meant to help encourage and give access to opportunities resources for students who may not otherwise qualify without these programs.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:
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Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

Smith's Ada Comstock program helps non-traditional women students -- who must be at least 24 years old -- complete college. Currently, Smith has over 100 Ada Comstock Scholars, some 4% of its 2,700 students. Unlike traditional students, who come directly from high school, these women are often already living on their own and are far more likely to be low income. 75% receive federal Pell Grants.
Smith requires traditional age students to attend full-time, only Ada Comstock Scholars can attend part-time.


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:

Smith has a special scholarship for Ada Comstock Scholars with children under 18 years of age that replaces their student work expectation.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:
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Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):
Yes

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):
24

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):
89.70

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):
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):
38

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):
27.50

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.