WASHINGTON, D.C. - Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray is joining President Barack Obama and hundreds of higher education leaders at the White House today to announce new actions to help more students prepare for college and to graduate.

Members of the University Innovation Alliance - along with the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden - are part of the White House College Opportunity Day of Action. The event emphasizes President Obama's commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and others to help the U.S. reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.  

The University Innovation Alliance is comprised of 11 public research universities spanning the country. The universities are making a new commitment to produce 68,000 additional college graduates and a total of 860,000 graduates by 2025.

The alliance is identifying and piloting new programs to improve student success and expand proven innovations that significantly improve graduation rates across campuses.

"We believe collaboration between universities is essential for our ability to close the achievement gap," Ray said. "The White House choosing to highlight collaborative action to improve outcomes for students is an important marker of our success."

The 11 University Innovation Alliance members are Oregon State University, Arizona State University, Ohio State University, Georgia State University, University of California, Riverside, Iowa State University, University of Central Florida, Michigan State University, University of Kansas, University of Texas at Austin, and Purdue University.

One Oregon program that already has been launched is the Mid-Valley-Mid-Coast Regional Achievement Partnership, a collaboration among Oregon State, the Corvallis School District, Linn-Benton Community College and other partners. Together, these groups are helping to achieve state education attainment goals. Through OSU's College of Education and local school district counselors, the partners are working to increase the number of high school students in the region attending college and achieving success.

President Obama will announce today new steps on how his administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students' access to college. Today's event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on Jan. 14.

For more information, go to www.theUIA.org.

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu