Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga Meets With President Obama at White House Higher Education Summit

Today, Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga carries to President Obama the message that Scripps is committed to expanding higher education opportunities to low-income, under represented and first-generation students.

She joins other college presidents and leaders from various agencies and sectors nationwide, all of whom have been invited by President Obama, the first lady and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to participate in the Higher Education Summit at the White House.

Among items on Bettison-Varga’s agenda to highlight the continued success of the Scripps College Academy, a college readiness program for high-achieving young women from underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area. SCA already has gained the attention of the White House, which honored the Scripps program with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award in 2010.

“Representing Scripps to the White House is a very proud moment for all members of the College community,” says Bettison-Varga, who also holds leadership positions with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, The Annapolis Group, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. “The opportunity to share our commitment to providing financial support for a diverse and deserving student body spotlights the importance of this critical issue and reflects credit on our efforts.”

As part of President Obama’s higher education agenda, the White House Higher Education Summit launches his initiative to increase academic access and success and to make a college education affordable for all Americans. The event is streaming live at beginning at 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. ET.

The college presidents attending the summit were required to provide written commitments outlining their plans for serving the needs of disadvantaged students. These are the Scripps College commitments presented to President Obama:

Scripps College commits to expanding recruitment of low income underrepresented and first generation students through new collaborations with community-based organizations (CBOs). In addition, Scripps’ campaign calls for the expansion of financial aid and scholarship endowment by $35 million over the next five years so that the College can provide access to a Scripps education to any deserving student, regardless of her ability to pay. Through this goal, Scripps hopes to expand the Quest Bridge scholars from 8 on campus each year to 10-15, and to increase the percentage of first generation and low-income students overall.

Building on Existing Efforts. These new commitments build on Scripps College’s current commitment to access and retention, through broad recruitment efforts and by meeting the full documented financial need of our students while capping the amount of loans in financial aid packages (average debt at graduation is under $18,000). Scripps’ 6-year graduation rate for underrepresented students is greater than 90%. Through its nationally recognized Scripps College Academy, Scripps provides mentoring and academic support to local area girls at under resourced schools through on campus programming. Scripps also provides support and mentoring for first generation student, through its SCORE program for current students, developing the confidence and skills needed in a highly competitive environment.

For more specifics about the event or topic, please contact the White House Press Office at [email protected]. Look for posts and tweets beginning Thursday, Jan. 16 at:

Background on existing Scripps College programs that address disadvantaged college students and youth:

QuestBridge National College Match is a non-profit organization that links high achieving, underserved youth with educational and scholarship opportunities at one of the nation’s 32 top-tier colleges. The program offers students an alternative early admission, full four-year scholarships with no loans, no application fees, and the chance to attend high-ranking colleges such as Scripps College.

SCA (Scripps College Academy) is a summer program designed to academically prepare students from racially and economically diverse backgrounds, including first-generation college-bound students. Faculty and undergraduate students mentor the high school students on how to prepare for academic success through intensive projects examining the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. It serves 350 students per year.

SCORE (Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment) supports student organizations that focus on raising social and political awareness across the community, with respect to issues of class, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexuality and sexual orientation, toward creating enriched communities that embrace cross-cultural consciousness and understanding of our diverse, unique, and shared experiences.

About Scripps College

Scripps College was founded in 1926 by Ellen Browning Scripps, a pioneering philanthropist and influential figure in the worlds of education, publishing, and women’s rights. Today, Scripps is a nationally top-ranked liberal arts college and women’s college with approximately 950 students, and is a member of The Claremont Colleges in Southern California. The mission of Scripps College is to educate women to develop their intellects and talents through active participation in a community of scholars, so that as graduates they may contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.