President Aoun to attend White House Higher Education summit

North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun will par­tic­i­pate in a higher edu­ca­tion summit at the White House on Thursday hosted by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama that will focus on max­i­mizing col­lege access, afford­ability, and suc­cess for low-​​income students.

The summit will include col­lege and uni­ver­sity pres­i­dents from across the country as well as leaders from city and state gov­ern­ment, the pri­vate sector, non­profits, and phil­an­thropic orga­ni­za­tions. Aoun’s par­tic­i­pa­tion under­scores his lead­er­ship on addressing higher education’s most pressing issues on a national stage. These efforts include serving as board chair of the Amer­ican Council on Edu­ca­tion, working to pre­serve national finan­cial aid pro­grams, and serving on a fed­eral advi­sory council focused on how uni­ver­si­ties can con­tribute to America’s national secu­rity efforts.

In recent years, North­eastern has taken a range of steps to enhance access, afford­ability, and suc­cess for stu­dents. This year, the uni­ver­sity is investing an unprece­dented $204 mil­lion in insti­tu­tional grant aid, the largest invest­ment in North­eastern his­tory. It marked the sixth straight year North­eastern increased finan­cial aid at double the rate of tuition and fees.

Among the university’s other related com­mit­ments is the “North­eastern Promise,” a unique com­pact made to ensure that stu­dents and fam­i­lies are equipped to antic­i­pate the costs of a col­lege edu­ca­tion and to pre­vent unex­pected cir­cum­stances from impacting a student’s progress toward a degree. The promise guar­an­tees eight semes­ters of level funding to stu­dents who receive need-​​based North­eastern grant assis­tance and auto­mat­i­cally increases need-​​based aid at the same rate of future tuition increases.

North­eastern also par­tic­i­pates in the national “Say Yes to Edu­ca­tion” pro­gram, which allows stu­dents with family income below $75,000 to attend tuition free. The uni­ver­sity also sup­ports high-​​talent, low-​​income stu­dents through its inno­v­a­tive Torch Scholars Pro­gram and the Ujima Scholars Pro­gram .

To build on these ini­tia­tives and con­tinue improving col­lege access, North­eastern is plan­ning to offer 150 full-​​tuition need-​​based schol­ar­ships this year to Boston Public Schools grad­u­ates, including 30 new schol­ar­ships cov­ering 100 per­cent of demon­strated need for low-​​income stu­dents who live near campus. North­eastern will also host sev­eral col­lege readi­ness events on campus for BPS stu­dents and their fam­i­lies aimed at helping them pre­pare and apply for col­lege and finan­cial aid.

In addi­tion, BPS grad­u­ates will be offered pri­ority admis­sion to Northeastern’s Foun­da­tion Year pro­gram, which gives stu­dents one year of col­lege at little or no cost, after which they can transfer into North­eastern or to another col­lege or university.

The uni­ver­sity will also ini­tiate a com­pre­hen­sive finan­cial lit­eracy pro­gram focused on ensuring that all stu­dents obtain the skills and knowl­edge to make informed and effec­tive finan­cial decisions—not only about paying for col­lege, but throughout their lives. The pro­gram will focus on helping stu­dents lower their edu­ca­tion debt by lim­iting and elim­i­nating con­ve­nience bor­rowing, and coun­seling will include issues such as man­aging per­sonal credit, loan repay­ment, and auto and home purchases.

What’s more, Northeastern’s expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion model—which com­bines rig­orous class­room learning with mean­ingful career-​​aligned work experience—provides stu­dents with dis­tinct advan­tages after grad­u­a­tion. Ninety per­cent of grad­u­ates from 2006 through 2012 were employed full time or enrolled in grad­uate school nine months after grad­u­a­tion. Eighty seven per­cent of full-​​time employed grad­u­ates were doing work related to their major, and 50 per­cent of them received a job offer from at least one pre­vious co-​​op employer.