$10 million gift to fund initiative for low-income students

President Obama praised the initiative at a White House summit Thursday morning.

By Harini Jaganathan

The University received a $10 million gift to fund a project headed by the Urban Education Institute (UEI) that will “promote college readiness and success for underserved students across the nation,” according to a University press release published Thursday.

The gift will go towards improving elementary school–level literacy skills and developing tools to help educators, policymakers, and education leaders improve low-income schools.

President Barack Obama praised the initiative on Thursday morning at a White House summit attended by University President Robert Zimmer and about 100 other college leaders. The summit discussed the importance of providing low-income students with opportunities to attend and succeed in college.

“We know that not enough low-income students are taking the steps required to prepare for college,” Obama said in his address. “That’s why I’m glad the University of Chicago—my neighbor and the place where Michelle and I both worked in the past—is announcing a $10 million college success initiative that will reach 10,000 high schools over the next five years.”

The donation comes from Steven Kersten (J.D. ‘80), a member of the Board of Trustees, and his wife Priscilla, who sits on the board of the University Charter Schools and co-chairs the Women’s Board UEI Partner’s Committee.

“The Kersten family gift will allow us to make the distinctive work of our scholars and practitioners available nationwide, addressing an issue of enormous importance,” Zimmer said in the press release.

—Harini Jaganathan