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UC leaders join President Obama at higher education summit

University of California President Janet Napolitano and several UC chancellors joined President Obama and education leaders from around the country at a higher education summit aimed at making college more accessible to low-income students.

Participants in the Jan. 16 summit included UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and roughly 90 other college and university presidents. They were asked to come armed with ideas for how higher education can better serve those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

The issue has gained national urgency in recent years, fueled by data that show a growing gap in college graduation rates between lower-income students and their more affluent peers. Many worry that higher education, long envisioned as the great equalizer, is becoming another factor in the widening gap between rich and poor.

“The promise that anyone, no matter how humble their beginnings, can have a shot at a high-quality college education is at the heart of what makes this country strong — and it’s what the University of California is all about,” Napolitano said. “I’m looking forward to sharing what UC is doing that works, discussing what else we intend to do and hearing other ideas on this important issue.”

Indeed, UC’s record on successfully serving low-income students stands apart from any other research university in the nation.

Among the thousands of bright and hard-working students that UC educates, 72,500 undergraduates — 40 percent of the student body — come from low-income households, a number that no other top-tier university comes close to matching. To put that figure in perspective: UC educates eight times as many low-income students as the entire Ivy League combined.

For more, see the complete story, which includes links to campus articles and statistics on how UC serves low-income and first-generation students.

See also local and national press coverage of the summit:




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