President Powers attends White House event on college opportunity

Madlin Mekelburg

UT President William Powers Jr. attended the president’s and first lady’s Call to Action on College Opportunity event Thursday in Washington D.C.

According to Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, the event focused on increasing the opportunity to attend college for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds by asking leaders from universities, businesses and communities to make commitments to address this issue in 2014. Sperling said the event “would not be the destination; it would be the launch.”

In a list released by the White House containing commitments from all of the event’s participants, Powers outlined a variety of pledges he made on behalf of UT. His commitments focus primarily on expanding existing programs to increase college opportunities for youth in underprivileged areas.

Powers’ pledges include a plan to offer students financial aid in exchange for maintaining good standing in the University Leadership Network, a program focused on developing academic and leadership skills. He also included a promise to expand the Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment program to more than 500 students, which allows students to take most of their classes at a community college and one course at UT per semester.