President Zimmer joins nation’s higher education leaders at White House

Editor’s note: Reporters seeking more information on the University’s commitments to improving college opportunity should email or call 773-702-8360.

President Robert J. Zimmer joined President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House on Thursday, together with more than 100 college and university presidents and other education and government leaders, to explore ways to expand college opportunity for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The White House is webcasting the event live at

As part of the daylong meeting, the White House released summaries of new commitments made by universities and other institutions to give students better college preparation, access and tools for success. The White House released this summary of the University of Chicago’s commitment, and its ongoing work on college opportunity:

“The University of Chicago is announcing a $10 million gift from a University Trustee to launch the groundbreaking College Success Initiative. The initiative will provide proven tools, best-in-class evidence, and training to schools and policymakers in Chicago and nationwide to improve college readiness and access for underserved students. It will reach 10,000 schools over the next five years, and aims to dramatically increase the number of students who are well prepared for college, gain admission and graduate ready for success in their careers and lives.

“The initiative will empower educators and parents to improve their schools, monitor students’ college readiness, and track students’ success in college. It will also provide college-readiness curricula for grades pre-K-12. It will identify, codify and share the best available evidence to support policy decisions that improve college readiness and access.

“Building on Existing Effort: Through its UChicago Promise initiative, the University of Chicago is actively engaged in helping students from Chicago prepare for, gain admission to and succeed in college. UChicago Promise eliminates debt for students from Chicago who attend the University. It trains high school students to navigate the financial aid and admissions processes, wherever they want to attend college. The University helps even the playing field through programs such as the Collegiate Scholars Program, which prepares high-achieving, predominantly low-income students from Chicago Public Schools to attend outstanding colleges by providing advanced coursework unavailable to them in their high schools. With the support of a $400,000 grant from the BP Foundation, the University will expand the science curriculum of the Collegiate Scholars Program over the next two years to include robust lab and research opportunities, which will serve as a critical building block for students, encouraging them to pursue college degrees and careers in all STEM fields. Finally, the University consistently engages in innovative community-campus collaborations such the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP), which puts 400 University of Chicago students in schools and other sites on the South Side of Chicago as teaching assistants and mentors, providing more than 35,000 hours of support each year. The university also operates four charter school campuses, which educate and create a college-going culture for 1,700 students.”

More details on the College Success Initiative and the gift that makes it possible will be available Friday at

For more information on UChicago Promise, please see this report detailing progress made in the initiative’s first full year. For more information on college affordability and access at the University of Chicago, please see this information sheet.