Chancellor Zimpher was welcomed to The White House for a summit on making college more accessible. In attendance was President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and leaders representing over 100 colleges and universities and 40 organizations. Chancellor Zimpher was chosen to speak for the entire cohort to the White House press corps with White House Spokesman Jay Carney at the midday briefing.
“SUNY’s standing as one of the most affordable and accessible systems of public higher education in the world – together with our commitment to building strong partnerships with everyone who has a stake in education, including government, business, education, and community leaders – has positioned us to shape the future of our sector, and we are proud to fill this critical role,” said Chancellor Zimpher.
The agenda: announce new commitments to action to build on their existing efforts increasing college access and completion. And the impact: hundreds of thousands of students across the country who can rely on solid support to ensure their journey through and out of college is both seamless and fruitful. In total, over 100 new commitments to expand college opportunity were made by the group, including four main staples:
- 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;
- and Strengthening remediation to help academically underprepared students progress through and complete college.
To underscore these principles, Chancellor Zimpher exquisitely pointed to SUNY as a tested example of the majority of the commitments in a way that compelled Press Secretary Carney to remark, “You’d make a great White House press secretary!” during the briefing.
Chancellor Zimpher was chosen as the voice of today’s push, as SUNY is consistently a national leader in higher education. Questions from the press corps ranged from how colleges across the nation can:
- Cut operating costs (SUNY is doing it with Shared Services);
- Be sure that degrees will be “useful” upon graduation (SUNY is doing it with Strategic Enrollment Management);
- and Keep tuition affordable for students (SUNY is doing it with Rational Tuition).
Chancellor Zimpher noted during her briefing that Open SUNY, the new online program base that gives students access to all 64 SUNY campuses’ expert faculty, world-class programs, and affordable education, will further allow SUNY to use data in order to best cater to students’ goals and outcomes.
“SUNY’s comprehensive set of innovative policies and initiatives – Open SUNY, seamless transfer, co-operative education, cradle-to-career partnerships, and others – continue to attract national attention, and with good reason,” Chancellor Zimpher said.
“We look forward to building upon SUNY’s successful access, completion, and success initiatives and continuing to model them for the nation,” she added.
And the hard hats are on! SUNY will continue to share the blueprint for success with the nation, just as Chancellor Zimpher did on January 16, so that the benefits SUNY offers to all New Yorkers can be scaled to the nation through collective impact.