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President Aoun to attend White House summit on college access and completion

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.

The White House is live streaming the summit.

Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun

Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun

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.