NAICU Washington Update

White House Holds 2nd Summit on College Opportunity

December 17, 2014

Reaching out to a wider swath of higher education and community leaders, President Obama, joined by Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama, hosted the second College Opportunity Day of Action in Washington, DC on December 4. Included in the day-long Summit were nearly 40 NAICU member institutions and organizations.

Prior to the Summit, higher education leaders were asked to nominate new programs that their institutions or organizations were undertaking to help make college more accessible in one of four areas: building networks of colleges focused on promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors, and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields (see below for more detail).

During the Summit, the White House announced more than 600 new commitments from the nominated programs to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

NAICU President David Warren, who also attended the Summit, characterized the day as significant in the amount of collaboration and commitment to moving these critical higher education issues forward. “We are proud of the many commitments made by private, nonprofit institutions, not just those participating in the Summit, but also institutions around the country that are tackling these very issues every day. NAICU and our members are very focused on making higher education more accessible, and ensuring that more students succeed in reaching their higher education goals,” said Warren.

This Summit follows the first event held in January, where more than 100 college and university presidents and other higher education leaders joined President Obama at the White House. There, each higher education leader in attendance committed to announcing a new initiative to improve college access and completion for low-income students.

Four focus areas of the December 4, 2014 Summit on College Opportunity:

  • College Completion Collaboration—Colleges and universities are establishing collaborations around graduating more students, particularly low-income students. These networks demonstrate what can be accomplished when colleges and universities work together to pilot and evaluate promising practices that help students persist, share what is learned, and scale what works.
  • K-16 Collaboration—Higher education institutions working in partnership with school districts, community organizations, business and philanthropy to increase the share of high school students who are on track to enter and succeed in college.
  • K-12/Postsecondary Counseling and Advising—The White House was especially interested in initiatives that connect high school counselors with higher education institutions to recruit and enroll at-risk students and projects that align access efforts with college readiness standards.
  • STEM Degree Production—The White House was especially interested in initiatives that focus on college completion for low-income, women, and underrepresented minority STEM students, improving retention in STEM fields, especially by overhauling introductory STEM courses, and supporting student connections to research and career pathways.

MORE News from NAICU