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 Scholarship program (formally known as 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.