UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox is Among Education Leaders at the White House College Opportunity Day of Action

University Innovation Alliance Announces Commitment to produce 68,000 additional graduates by 2025 at White House event.

WASHINGTON, D.C., (www.ucr.edu) – UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and the other members of the University Innovation Alliance will join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden along with other college presidents and higher education leaders today to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox Photo by Carrie Rosema

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox Photo by Carrie Rosema

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action emphasizes the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits to support students across the country and help the nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.  The event will be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live starting at about 9 a.m. Eastern Thursday, Dec. 4.

The University Innovation Alliance (UIA), 11 public research universities spanning the country, are making a new commitment to producing 68,000 additional college graduates and a total of 860,000 graduates by 2025. The UIA is identifying and piloting new innovations to improve student success and scale proven innovations that significantly improve graduation rates across campuses. The Alliance will also share what works with the broader higher education community to create a playbook of proven innovations that help students from all backgrounds complete.

“The University of California is a model for how the nation can better serve students across ethnicity and socioeconomic status,” said UCR Chancellor Wilcox. “At my own campus in Riverside, more than 60 percent of our domestic undergraduates are first in their families to seek a college degree, and our student body includes 55 percent Pell grant recipients – which ranks us #1 in the nation among research intensive universities.”
He noted that UCR serves more Pell recipients than all the campuses of the Ivy League combined.

Wilcox said he welcomes the opportunity to talk with other higher education leaders, and White House officials, about how to recognize best practices that will scale up across the nation.

In addition to working with the University Innovation Alliance, Chancellor Wilcox is a member of the newly-formed Riverside County Education Collaborative. Together this group of educators have set goals to increase the percentage of college educated residents in the Inland region, with appropriate financial aid and preparation for college success, including smoothing the transfer process between community colleges and UC Riverside. One of UCR’s commitments is to expand its current articulation agreements with community colleges to to make it possible for students to transfer from a community college to UCR and earn a bachelor’s degree in two years of transferring.

In addition to Wilcox, other partners in the Riverside County Education Collaborative are: Kenn Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools; Tim Ritter, Temecula Valley Unified School District; Judy White, Moreno Valley Unified School District; Darren Daniel, Murrieta Valley Unified School District; Mike McCormick, Val Verde Unified School District; Robyn Kisinger, AVID; Sandra Mayo, Moreno Valley College; Matt Cepi, Cal State San Marcos; Tom Spillman, Mt. San Jacinto College; Mary Ann Edwards, Mayor of Temecula; Mark Lenoir, Leadership Institute of Riverside County; Jacques Bordeaux, College Board.

The 11 Innovation Alliance members are:

Arizona State University                 Ohio State University

Georgia State University                 University of California, Riverside

Iowa State University                      University of Central Florida

Michigan State University               University of Kansas

Oregon State University                  University of Texas at Austin

Purdue University

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new actions in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating kindergarten through college partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Bard College student Troy Simon, delivers remarks during the College Opportunity Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2014.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Bard College student Troy Simon, delivers remarks during the College Opportunity Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2014.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The President will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college. Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on Jan. 14.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy,  a strong middle class, and international competiveness. Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile.

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