One of my highest priorities as president is to ensure that Cornell admits and enrolls students of all backgrounds — and helps them succeed. We are making progress, especially at the undergraduate level. Through more effective recruitment and greatly enhanced need-based financial aid, the class of 2013 is the most racially diverse group in our university’s history. We are also proud of the economic diversity of our student body, which ranks seventh among the nation’s top schools in Pell Grant recipients, according to the 2010 US News & World Report.
It appears we are succeeding in increasing contact among students of different backgrounds on campus. According to the Cornell PULSE (Perceptions of Undergraduate Life and Student Experiences) survey, administered in March 2009, well over half of all undergraduate students, including underrepresented minority students, felt that their experience at Cornell contributed significantly to their skill in working effectively with others and had a positive influence on their ability to relate well to people of different races, nations and religions. The vast majority of students also reported having frequent conversations with students who differed from them in race, ethnicity and political beliefs.