Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Three UC chancellors and UC President Janet Napolitano met with President Barack Obama on Thursday, Jan. 16 to participate in an education summit designed to address education accessibility for low-income students. Over 100 college and university presidents joined UC Merced, San Diego and Berkeley chancellors at the summit.

In his speech to the university leaders, President Obama stated that he would act on his own if Congress failed to take action on the matter of college accessibility. “I’ve got a pen to take executive action,” he told summit attendees.

Higher education accessibility for low-income students has become a huge issue for public schools like the UC. Currently, 40 percent of UC students come from low-income backgrounds — the most out of any university system in the nation. Of the 40 percent, 78 percent go on to receive college degrees.

“The promise that anyone, no matter how humble their beginnings, can have a shot at a high-quality college education is at the heart of what makes this country strong — and it’s what the University of California is all about,” Napolitano said about the issue.

During the summit, potential aid programs such as peer mentoring and college outreach programs were discussed as potential solutions to help increase higher education accessibility.