Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 15, 2013—Today, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), through its leadership of the National Coalition for College Completion, is hosting a special two-day event in Memphis to examine the city’s ability to secure significant participation by various stakeholders and influencers outside of higher education—government and business leaders, student and community advocates, and civil rights and faith-based organizers—around its localized college completion efforts. The event, “Building Public Will for College Completion in Metropolitan Areas,” provides a unique opportunity for IHEP to bring together local partners whose insights about their successful engagement in Memphis-based initiatives can prompt scalable strategies to greatly improve the percentage of underserved students who complete postsecondary education degrees in and near our nation’s largest cites.
“We hope to understand and elevate promising practices that engage leaders across sectors in support of localized college completion campaigns,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “By broadening the awareness of this important work, IHEP will serve our nation’s collective educational interests and harness additional resources critical to sustaining college completion efforts in the long-run.”
As a result of the convening and additional information gathering, IHEP will develop a suite of materials to be used by those inside and outside higher education seeking to initiate or broaden local completion campaigns by drawing on the leadership and resources of local businesses, community advocacy groups, faith-based entities, social services organizations, and other key regional sectors.
Working to identify postsecondary education-focused strategies and opportunities in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) has been one of IHEP’s longstanding priorities. In October 2011, the organization released the publication Smart Money: Informing Higher Education Philanthropy, which offers a unique and innovative approach to help national and community foundations with identifying distinct postsecondary education-focused funding strategies and opportunities. A year earlier (October 2010), IHEP along with the Center for American Progress, released Easy Come, EZ-GO: A Federal Role in Removing Jurisdictional Impediments to College Education, which examines how educational opportunities in multi-state MSAs are often unaligned with regional economic and social needs due to state-orientated policymaking.
The “Building Public Will for College Completion in Metropolitan Areas” event will begin Tuesday, Jan. 15 with a welcome dinner and reception from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., followed by a working meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Both the dinner and working meeting will be held at The Peabody Memphis located at 149 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103.
For more information about the “Building Public Will for College Completion in Metropolitan Areas” event, visit IHEP’s website at www.ihep.org. Additional details about the National Coalition for College Completion can be found at www.finishhighered.org.