Tulane leader attends White House meeting on college accessibility

January 16, 2014

Mike Strecker
Phone: 504-314-2603


President Barack Obama talks with students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago, Ill., in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Tulane University President Scott Cowen was among 100 college leaders who met with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and civic leaders from around the country today to discuss how to enroll more low-income students in college and make sure they succeed once they are there.

“Ensuring that a college education is accessible to all qualified students regardless of their financial circumstances is vital not only to the future of these students but to the promise of our country as a whole,” Cowen said.

Each university leader who attended the meeting was asked to make a new commitment to increase college opportunity. Through the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, Tulane pledged to introduce a “freshman on-track” initiative targeting 10 non-selective high schools in New Orleans. The program monitors student data and offers support for student behaviors connected to course completion, attendance and other key indicators of freshman success. Freshman year is the most predictive year of high school performance and early warning indicators coupled with high-impact interventions have improved graduation rates and college success in Chicago, where the initiative began.

This new initiative will build on existing efforts at Tulane that include Tulane’s partnership with the Posse Foundation. The Posse Foundation recruits talented students from urban public high schools and prepares them to accept scholarships at select private universities in multicultural teams known as posses.

Other efforts at Tulane include the No Loan Assistance (NOLA) Scholarship for students from lower-income families and Upward Bound and AdvanceNOLA, two college readiness programs for underserved and low-income high school students. In addition, Tulane has partnered with the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, College Track and the micro-scholarship service Raise to support under-resourced and underrepresented students.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000