Jan. 16, 2014
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
By Jerett Rion
COLUMBIA, Mo. – President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted officials from more than 100 universities, colleges and nonprofit groups at the White House today for a higher education summit. The University of Missouri was selected by the president to participate based on the university’s commitment to helping low-income students attend and succeed at college. Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton represented MU at the summit.
“It’s an honor to attend this education summit and represent MU at the national gathering,” Middleton said. “We are excited about the numerous programs at MU that help low-income and underrepresented students throughout the state realize their potential to obtain a college education and go on to be successful in their lifetimes.”
The Missouri College Advising Corps (MCAC), a program designed to help students during the college application process, was highlighted at the summit. In addition to MCAC, MU has several programs that help students achieve their educational goals, including:
- Missouri College Advising Corps (MCAC) –The MCAC hires recent MU graduates to work in 26 partner high schools across Missouri. These recent graduates help high school students in the application process, troubleshoot for them when they encounter obstacles and encourage them by believing in their ability to be successful in college. MCAC partner schools have high percentages of students who are the first in their families to attend college, low-income, or at risk of not going to college. MCAC college advisers help students choose colleges that best fit their interests and abilities, navigate the process of applying for financial aid, and help them develop confidence to complete a college degree. MCAC plans to expand in the next two years.
- A partnership with the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) –This partnership between 12 community colleges in Missouri and MU was established to provide internet access for community college graduates enrolled in Mizzou online courses and degree programs. The purpose of the partnership is to expand the range of distance education courses and degree offerings across Missouri so that more citizens can earn associate and bachelor’s degrees while continuing to live and work at home, thus decreasing the cost of their education.
- Financial Wellness Task Force – The taskforce was established in 2013 and aims to improve financial wellness by reducing the number of students who drop out of college due to correctable financial practices. The taskforce teaches students money management skills and how to borrow wisely, so they can achieve their academic goals. The university’s Office of Financial Success counsels students individually to help them make sound financial decisions while in college.
- Access to Success (A2S) Initiative – The initiative provides students with numerous campus resources to help with retention and graduation. Some of the efforts include: expansion of academic advising, re-launching the Office of Financial Success, coordination and expansion of the Student Success Center, and expanding learning communities throughout campus.
“We believe that these MU programs highlighted at the summit and others are working toward helping more students apply for, attend and be successful in a higher education setting,” Middleton said. “MU strives to provide resources throughout our campus and the state to ensure everyone can afford and benefit from a college education.”
At the summit, the participating schools and nonprofit organizations were expected to make a commitment in one of four areas: helping low-income students connect with colleges that can meet their needs and then seeking to ensure that they graduate; reaching out to elementary, middle and high school students in hopes that by engaging earlier, more students will be encouraged to pursue higher education; boosting remedial programs so underprepared students will still have opportunities to succeed; and seeking to ensure lower-income students aren’t disadvantaged by lack of access to college advisers and an inability to prepare for entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The director and advisers with the Missouri College Advising Corps are available for interviews on Thursday, Jan. 16 and Friday, Jan. 17. Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton is available for interviews on Friday, Jan. 17.