Carleton’s Summer Liberal Arts Institute receives Hearst Foundations grant to support scholarships

The two-year, $150,000 grant will help provide scholarships for under-resourced high school students to attend a summer session at Carleton.

Erica Helgerud ’20 19 January 2024 Posted In:
Two Carleton students stand on the Carleton sign, one holding a

The Summer Liberal Arts Institute (SLAI) at Carleton has received a two-year, $150,000 grant from The Hearst Foundations to support scholarships for under-resourced high school students to attend one of SLAI’s six three-week residential programs in summer 2024 and 2025. SLAI’s immersive summer learning experiences introduce rising juniors and seniors to the excitement, creativity, and interdisciplinary aspects of the liberal arts. 

The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. They identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and satisfying lives. According to SLAI director Margi Youmans ’06, the Hearst funds, combined with a donor match previously given to SLAI, will provide as many as 50 full student scholarships for the next two summers.

“Living and learning like a college student before you make decisions on where to apply and what majors to pursue is a transformative opportunity,” Youmans said. “Without grants like these, SLAI would be unable to meet a primary goal: access.”

Serving underrepresented students is one of SLAI’s major objectives. In 2023, 74% of the domestic student population identified as students of color, and 24% will be the first in their families to attend college. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to work with about 25 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to recruit academically curious and motivated students from these underrepresented groups who are interested in the small liberal arts experience,” Youmans said.

SLAI attendees are exposed to rigorous content and research methods that prepare them for undergraduate careers at the nation’s top institutions, including Carleton. 
The six unique programs offered by SLAI function similarly to Carleton’s first-year Argument and Inquiry (A&I) seminar courses, which lay the foundational thinking of a liberal arts education. Each SLAI program, directed by Carleton faculty, has an overarching theme that is often interdisciplinary in design, with hands-on, collaborative learning experiences. During the day, students mainly spend time with peers participating in their same academic program in the classroom, lab, or doing experiential field work. All students are provided the chance to interact outside the classroom in the residence halls and during afternoon, evening, and weekend activities. To learn more about SLAI, visit Carleton’s pre-college webpage.