Bowdoin Adapts to a Changing Population

Whitney Soule, dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin

In a recent article, The Boston Globe describes how first-generation, low-income college students of color — while once anomalies on New England’s mostly white, middle-class campuses — are increasingly commonplace. While expanding the diversity of the student body is already part of the mission of many colleges and universities, schools also are feeling pressure to respond to the US’s changing demographics. To do this, they must make tuitions more affordable and update their recruitment strategies.

“The nation’s high school population is becoming increasingly diverse and increasingly unable to afford high tuition prices. Additionally, experts predict a major drop in the number of high school graduates overall after the year 2025 — especially in New England…. As a result, local colleges will have to work harder to bring students to campus and offer them significantly more financial assistance,” the Globe reports.

Additionally, where students are coming from is changing. “The number of college applicants from the South and West is predicted to grow, while the number in the Northeast and Midwest will likely decline,” the paper reports.

In recent years, Bowdoin has noted and adapted to this shift. This year, the College received applications from students from 1,000 more high schools than three years ago. Bowdoin, which has a need-blind admission policy and has replaced all student loans with grants, has also eliminated the application fee for any student applying for financial aid or who is the first in their family to attend college.

Whitney Soule, dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin, told the Globe, “It really is important that not just Bowdoin but all schools are thinking ahead of where students are, and making sure we get there.”

Read the Boston Globe article.

4 thoughts on “Bowdoin Adapts to a Changing Population

  1. Jean S. Coltart

    Interesting article. However, I want to point out that expanding diversity at Bowdoin and at other colleges and universities isn’t “just all about” racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic make-up of the student body, but ALSO includes disabilities. So when you refer to diversity at Bowdoin College, kindly remember that it isn’t “just all about” racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic…but also about disabilities diversity in the student and staff makeup as well. Thanks.

  2. Earland Briggs DMD

    I REMEMBER BEING ON THE TRACK TEAM 4 YEARS WITH TWO MEN OF COLOR. THEY WERE VERY POPULAR AND AT LEAST ONE OF THEM BECAME A SURGEON.

  3. John

    Odd that you used the phrasing “won” a scholarship. As a need based school that doesn’t seem to reflect Bowdoin policy or practice.
    I also appreciate the comment above about being inclusive of disability.

  4. Bill Kelly

    It’s nice that Bowdoin is accepting people representing the changinging demographics of our country. I’m fully in favor of it as long as the high standards of accomplishment and academic ability are not compromised. We can all look forward to a time when the topics of race, gender, and ethnicity are no longer interesting to our academic communities.

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