Researcher From Penn Will Discuss Higher Ed Disparities at U.S. Senate Hearing

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820July 21, 2014

Laura Perna, a professor in the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, will testify before a United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on Thursday, July 24.

The hearing, “The Role of States in Higher Education,” will take a broad look at funding, oversight and strategies for improving degree attainment among students, especially those from low-income families.

Perna, an expert in college affordability and choice, has researched state policies in higher education across the country, whether today’s students are being prepared for tomorrow’s metropolitan jobs and paying for college. She is also the founding executive director of Penn AHEAD, the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, which advances higher education around the globe.

She will discuss the relationship between the state and institutions of higher education and will offer recommendations for improvements to the Higher Education Act.

“There are many challenges to closing the gaps in degree attainment and the time for greater action is now,” Perna said. “These disparities in higher education leave the U.S. and individual states at a competitive disadvantage, diminish the middle class and contribute to the growing economic and social inequality.” 

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