SES History

students at an SES openhouse

Since 2009, Northwestern has launched a number of programs to identify students from low-income and/or first-generation backgrounds while creating a more inclusive campus community. Such initiatives include the following:

  • The Good Neighbor, Great University Program provides significantly increased financial aid to incoming freshmen who graduated from public or private high schools in Evanston and Chicago.
  • The Ryan Scholars program evolved out of a commitment to ensure that low-income students do not incur student loan debt as part of their academic experience.
  • Northwestern partners with national programs like Questbridge and the Gates Millennium Scholars program to further its commitment to college access for students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds across the country.

During the fall of 2012, Quest Scholars shared their experience as low-income students with university administrators, and in response a focus group project was convened to better understand the experience of low-income and/or first-generation students at Northwestern. Over the course of two years, Northwestern partnered with students, faculty, and staff to develop a proposal for the development of an office that would support the 14% of these low-income students at Northwestern. That office, Student Enrichment Services, opened its doors as part of Campus Inclusion and Community in October 2014.