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An Update on the Enrollment Division's Progress on Sustainable Inclusive Excellence (SIE) Goals

DEPARTMENT(S): 
July 15, 2022

The Enrollment Management Division is committed to identifying and implementing practices and initiatives that address inequities and access to WPI’s distinctive educational opportunities.

As a part of WPI’s Sustainable Inclusive Excellence (SIE) planning, the enrollment division has established several goals to help track and measure the progress of these efforts. 

The enrollment team has made considerable progress in achieving our SIE goals. Some highlights of the team’s efforts to address issues of equity, access, and inclusion include:

  • Implementing test-blind admissions and financial aid policies that fully remove the inequity introduced by the longstanding, problematic correlation between SAT & ACT scores and family income, race and ethnicity, and gender.
  • Established a pilot program to partner with several long-term Community Based Organizations (CBOs) – serving students who are historically underrepresented in STEM - to we provide scholarships for precollegiate summer programs and admissions.
  • Eliminating WPI’s application fee to avoid requiring families pay money to learn if their student will be admitted (which can artificially limit students if these fees are a hardship)
  • Partnered with Undergraduate Studies and Wachusett Community College to establish a conditional admit program that allows students who are unable to access precalculus (a WPI admissions requirement) to be eligible to enroll upon completion of a free (WPI-funded) precalculus course the summer after graduating from high school
  • Establishing an enrollment deposit “waiver” which allows students to forward their enrollment deposit to their fall bill where they can access financial aid to help cover the $500 deposit which often difficult or impossible for some families to provide prior to receiving their aid award.
  • Introduced a process to proactively waive the CSS Profile requirement for families with an income less than $50k.
  • Training admissions readers to understand and combat cognitive biases in the holistic review of applications.
  • Replaced the admissions “personal score” with a WPI “values score” that embeds the universities official values – respect, community, inclusion, innovation, and achievement – into both our holistic admissions review and our financial aid process.
  • Established the Naudin Oswell Scholarship – named for WPI’s first African-American graduate – to disrupt persistent barriers to inclusion, retention, and success of domestic Black students in STEM fields and to advance a welcoming experience at WPI for them, as for all students. In recognition of Oswell’s dedication, the burdens imposed on him based on his race, and the impact he had on his peers and STEM fields, this scholarship is awarded to students based on these considerations:    
    • The student has been accepted to WPI and is entering their first year of college
    • The student’s lived experiences and/or work inside and outside of the classroom align with our institutional values of respect, community, inclusion, innovation, and achievement and the student either
      • Demonstrates deep knowledge and understanding of issues of racism, particularly as affecting Black people in American education (including in STEM) and society or
      • Demonstrates such knowledge and understanding, as well as that they have an authentic and strong commitment to ameliorating racism affecting Black people in American education, STEM fields and/or society. 
  • Established the Leslie Small Scholarship – named for the first woman to graduate from WPI - to disrupt persistent barriers to inclusion, retention and success of women in STEM fields and to advance a welcoming experience at WPI for them, as for all students.  In recognition of Small’s dedication, the burdens imposed on her based on her gender, and the impact she had on her peers and STEM fields, this scholarship is awarded to students based on these considerations: 
    • The student has been accepted to WPI and is entering their first year of college
    • The student’s lived experiences and work inside and outside of the classroom align with our institutional values of respect, community, inclusion, innovation, and achievement and the student either
      • Demonstrates their deep knowledge and understanding of issues of sexism in American education (including in STEM) and society or
      • Demonstrates such knowledge and understanding as well as that they have an authentic and strong commitment to ameliorating sexism affecting women in American education, STEM fields and/or society. 
  • Developed videos to help students understand and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

While these milestones don’t represent the totality of progress and new initiatives that the enrollment division has rolled out in alignment with WPI’s SIE planning, they do represent major progress that has – and will continue to – had a significant impact on our students and the WPI community as a whole.