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ODU to Host National Social Mobility Symposium for Second Year

For many college students, a degree means more than starting a career. It provides a socioeconomic boost for generations to come.

That's known as "social mobility," and it is receiving increased attention as more first-generation and nontraditional students enter higher education, changing the trajectory of their families' histories.

Old Dominion University is hosting its second National Social Mobility Symposium on June 4 and 5 to elevate the topic to a national issue.

The University's Center for Social Mobility, in partnership with the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies' higher-education and community college leaderhip programs, brings together higher-education leaders from across Virginia and national experts to advance programs that increase social mobility. As a national leader in social mobility research and initiatives, the Center uses a multipronged approach to stimulate collaboration to create and expand affordable student pathways.

"As a national leader in this area, ODU is proud to be part of an initiative that can provide information, resources and solutions to unlock education opportunities for students who are economically disadvantaged," said Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services.

Featured speakers at this year's event include Don Heller, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of San Francisco; Wil Del Pilar, vice president of Education Trust; Robert Kelchen, assistant professor at Seton Hall University; Robert Morse, chief data strategist for U.S. News & World Report; Carrie Lockhert, associate vice president for partner success at InsideTrack; Katherine Wheatle, strategy officer for finance and federal policy at Lumina Foundation; and Jim Wolfston, president and CEO of CollegeNET.

Access and affordability play major roles in graduation rates, especially when tuition taps low-income students' already-limited funds. Without a degree, earning potential is often capped, restricting social mobility. The challenge comes for colleges and universities to not only provide open doors for students to start their education but to support them through the completion of their degrees, put them on the path to social mobility and growing the nation's economy.

These topics and more will be addressed during the two-day symposium in Norfolk, Va.

To learn more about social mobility and the symposium, visit www.odu.edu/sees/social-mobility-symposium

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