Obama holds higher education summit

White House invites Sullivan, several University professors to conference

University President Teresa Sullivan attended a conference of college and university presidents at the White House Thursday to discuss expanding access to higher education.

In his speech to summit attendees, Obama said he will use any and all measures to ensure that there is progress in extending access to higher education to low-income and underprivileged children.

“I’m going to act on my own if Congress is deadlocked,” Obama said. “I’ve got a pen to take executive action.”

During their introductory speeches the President and First Lady Michelle Obama both spoke about the importance of education and increasing college graduation rates, referencing themselves as examples of success.

The First Lady also said she would be focusing on education outreach during the next few years.

“I’m [prioritizing education] because that story of opportunity through education is the story of my life,” she said.

Two University professors were also invited — Education Prof. Ben Castleman and Economics Prof. Sarah Turner — although only Castleman was able to attend.

Castleman has published work on the effects of summer breaks and peer mentoring on low-income students, while Turner has researched the positive effect of informing low-income applicants about their college options early. According to the education policy journal Inside Higher Ed, Turner’s paper is of particular interest to Obama administration officials.

Among the tactics discussed at the summit were summer programs, peer-mentoring programs and college outreach programs.

Published January 16, 2014 in FP test, News

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