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Cleveland, Ohio — On Sunday, May 22, 2011, members of the inaugural class of John Carroll University’s access initiative graduated, earning their Bachelor’s degrees.  The John Carroll Access Initiative (formerly known as the Ohio Access Initiative) provides financial support to help academically eligible incoming freshmen from lower-income backgrounds graduate in four years ( Starting this fall, the John Carroll Access Initiative (JCAI) will extend its reach to all incoming Pell Grant recipients admitted to the University—regardless of their home state. To reflect this, the Ohio Access Initiative (OAI) program was renamed JCAI.  “Our goal is to make the dream of a college education affordable for high-achieving students who want to make a difference in local and global communities,” said Robert L. Niehoff, S.J., President of John Carroll University.   “Serving others is central to our Jesuit Catholic mission, and we believe education is a pathway to building better lives.” With the combination of institutional, federal, and state grant sources, Pell recipients at John Carroll receive the financial assistance they need—making the John Carroll experience more affordable than many students realize.   
  • Before 2005, the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate and four-year student graduation rate at John Carroll among lower-income and first-generation students from Ohio was 74 percent and 58 percent, respectively.
  • As a result of the University’s access programs and support, the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of the first cohort of OAI students was 93 percent, and the University’s graduation rates are top ten in Ohio.
 Prior to this initiative, the four-year graduation rate for John Carroll students from families earning $40,000 or less was much lower than their counterparts.  This reflected the national trend. However, in this year’s graduating class, the difference between Pell- and non-Pell grant John Carroll graduates is only two percentage points—demonstrating that the University has largely eliminated family income as a barrier to success.  For more information, visit