5-C Presidents Attend White House Summit on College Opportunity

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Thursday, Jan. 16, college and university presidents and leaders from nonprofits, foundations, state governments and the private sector joined President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to discuss expanding college opportunity. President Maria Klawe and presidents from each of the other undergraduate Claremont Colleges gathered for the Summit.

The day-long event featured remarks from the President, First Lady and senior administration officials, as well as a series of panel discussions. The President and First Lady joined with leaders in higher education to announce over 100 new commitments to expand college opportunity.

The participants in today’s event were asked not simply to attend an event – but to commit to new action in one of the following areas crucial to college opportunity:

  • Connecting more low-income students to the college that is right for them and ensuring more graduate
  • Increasing the pool of students preparing for college through early interventions
  • Leveling the playing field in college advising and SAT/ACT test preparation
  • Strengthening remediation to help academically underprepared students progress through and complete college

As part of its current campaign planning efforts, Harvey Mudd College is exploring ways to guarantee all of its students one summer of experiential learning, such as research with a faculty member, an internship or an appropriate service opportunity. Research shows that such programs help with student persistence and retention, as well as with encouraging students to go on to STEM graduate programs.

Building on Existing Efforts

Harvey Mudd College has a long tradition of supporting women, underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students. The college’s financial aid policies ensure that tuition is not an obstacle for low-income students and 14 percent of currently enrolled students are Pell grant recipients. Harvey Mudd’s curricular initiatives—a bridge program, academic excellence tutoring, auxiliary courses and many others—help it to retain and graduate students. Harvey Mudd provides mentoring to help underrepresented students navigate their passage into college. Increasingly, the College is working to build K-12 STEM awareness through programs such as Homework Hotline, Science Bus and My CS.

Since 1975, Harvey Mudd has hosted a highly successful Upward Bound program, which was recently granted more than $3.25 million in federal funds to support its operation. The award also boosts the program’s objectives. HMC’s Upward Bound will increase its number of participants to 145 students annually and will strive to have at least 60 percent of them complete a degree within six years after completing high school.

To help more students afford and graduate from college with the skills they need, the Administration has doubled Federal investments in Pell Grants and college tax credits and reformed student loans. Last August, the President laid out an ambitious new agenda aimed at improving college value, removing barriers to innovation and competition, and ensuring that student debt remains affordable.