The White House Summit
"President Obama will convene a meeting with more than 100 college and university presidents Thursday -- a chance for his administration to pivot away from its stalled legislative agenda to executive actions and also a rare opportunity for White House-level attention for a large group of academic leaders," Inside Higher Ed reports. "Not only is such a large gathering of college leaders by the U.S. president unusual, but it also comes as the administration’s push on accountability in higher education has rankled many of very same leaders with whom Obama will share space with at the summit on Thursday. Private college presidents have been among the most vocal critics of the administration’s proposed, but still largely undefined, college ratings system. Administration officials have said in planning meetings with college presidents that Thursday’s event, however, is unrelated to the work the Education Department is doing to develop metrics for its ratings system. The summit Thursday will focus instead on improving college access for low-income students -- a cause that aligns with the focus of the First Lady Michelle Obama’s new outreach to underprivileged students to encourage them to apply for and attend college. Both President Obama and the First Lady will address college leaders in the daylong summit, according to an email sent to invitees. One of the topics that administration officials have focused on in planning meetings with college presidents -- and have discussed publicly -- is the issue of undermatching: a phenomenon education researchers have said occurs when high-achieving low-income students fail to apply to or enroll in the college to which they are best-suited. ... Another suggestion the White House has floated in the past is for colleges to pledge to substantially increase the proportion of enrolled students who are eligible to receive Pell Grants, a key indicator of socioeconomic diversity. Many college presidents involved in the event and other advocates for low-income students praised the White House for using its bully pulpit to address an issue they feel has not drawn enough attention."
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