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Dr. Olson Attends White House Summit, Announces Commitment to Increase Student Success

Dr. Shari OlsonPhoenix, AZ – December 8, 2014 – South Mountain Community College announced new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college as part of the White House College Opportunity Day of Action Summit on Thursday, Dec. 4.

Dr. Shari Olson, South Mountain Community College president, and Dr. Rufus Glasper, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District, joined President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden and educational leaders from across the country at the summit.

“The collective energy of educators from all over the country came together and formed a collaborative spirit,” said Dr. Olson. “Everyone committed to continue efforts to increase educational opportunities for all students, especially those who are low-income, first-generation and underrepresented. I was honored to represent South Mountain Community College and be a part of this historic day.”

At the summit, South Mountain Community College made the following commitment to improve student success:

We pledge to focus on diverse course delivery options, such as condensed and paired Developmental Education courses, in order to accelerate student progress and success. These delivery options are supported by a new student intake process that includes a mandatory New Student Orientation and student success course.

At the summit, President Obama announced new steps on how his administration will help to support college opportunity, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.

President Obama has also announced a $1,000 annual increase in Pell scholarships and a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.  Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared with 54 percent in the top quartile


South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite locations, SMCC’s Guadalupe site and SMCC’s Laveen site. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

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