EDU in Review News Blog

College Presidents Meet with Obama to Discuss Graduation Rates, College Costs

President Barack Obama Official Portrait President Obama asked to meet with a dozen university presidents in a round-table discussion on Monday. Some of the educators in attendance included Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon, California State University Long Beach President F. King Alexander, University of Maryland Baltimore County Freeman A. Hrabowski III and Ivy Tech Community College President Mr. Thomas Snyder. In addition to the presidents, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan and two representatives from nonprofit education organizations were also in attendance. Topics surrounded tuition affordability and productivity of U.S. higher education.

“It was an unusually interesting meeting, and not your usual list of college presidents,” Jane Wellmansaid, founder and director of the nonprofit Delta Project, which studies the price of tuition. “These were all people who had led institutions that had done something about reducing spending or improving student learning.”

Wellman said there was good discussion on how to decrease tuition costs and what type of role the government should have in increasing graduation rates. Some of the

“We discussed three core issues,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation for Education. “One was responsibility for costs, and what the federal government can do to support innovation with incentive money, or something like Race to the Top. We talked a lot about increasing accountability in student aid. And third, there was conversation about what degrees mean.”

Lumina Foundation is an organization that works to raise college graduation rates.  He said that those in attendance seemed to agree that the government should create policies on financial aid that encourage degree completion.

Policy ideas include making students who receive financial aid to attend college full-time or giving out money little by little to discourage students from dropping out mid-semester.

Via The New York Times and WhiteHouse.gov.

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