Knapp to attend White House college affordability summit Thursday

Media Credit: University President Steven Knapp at an event for the Confucius Institute in the fall. Erica Christian | Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp at an event for the Confucius Institute in the fall. Erica Christian | Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp at an event for the Confucius Institute in the fall. Erica Christian | Photo Editor
University President Steven Knapp at an event for the Confucius Institute in the fall. Erica Christian | Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp will join about 140 higher education leaders at a White House summit Thursday to unveil new commitments to help low-income students attend and finish college.

The day-long event comes as President Barack Obama promotes plans to make college less expensive and easier to complete for low-income students. The University announced this afternoon that it will release its own affordability plans Thursday morning, along with dozens of other colleges that are on the closely-guarded guest list.

The White House has pitched several ideas to colleges already, encouraging them to set goals for increasing the number of Pell Grant-eligible students, create cohorts specifically for low-income students and improve science and engineering learning outcomes among low-income students.

Knapp has said he’s committed to lower college costs throughout his six-year tenure, increasing the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants from 9 percent to 14 percent over the last four years.

But GW has its own mixed record on college affordability. Its 2010-2011 sticker price tuition ($44,148) was the fourth-highest in the country, according to this year’s Department of Education report. But its net price ($27,793), which includes how much it gives out in financial aid, was lower than most of its competitors and other D.C. area schools.

Its average student debt (about $33,000) is higher than the national average. Only about 1.5 percent of students default on those loans though, which beats the national rate by a wide margin.

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