White House college opportunity summit: Leath will meet with President Obama today

President Steven Leath meets today with President Barack Obama and other senior administration officials in an effort to identify ways to increase college opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students.

Leath is participating in the White House event along with other college and university presidents and leaders from nonprofits, foundations, state governments and businesses from across the country. The event will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/live

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will address the gathering. Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will moderate panel discussions with the participants.

"I greatly appreciate being asked by President Obama to take part in this event at the White House. We've discussed the importance of access to higher education, and I'm looking forward to offering insights from the perspective of a land-grant university where access and opportunity have always been a priority," Leath said.

One year ago, Leath met with students at Moulton and King elementary schools in Des Moines and urged them to take part in a special program designed to help low-income and minority students succeed academically and eventually enroll at Iowa State. Leath also is leading a five-year effort to raise an additional $150 million in private gifts for student financial aid.

In July 2012, Leath testified about college access and affordability before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

"Eliminating barriers to a college education will benefit our young people, our state and the nation. Iowa State is working to make that happen," Leath said.