LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander Invited to White House Summit on College Access

01/15/2014 02:10 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander will attend an event hosted by President Barack Obama and the First Lady at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 16. The event will focus on new actions universities can take to increase college opportunity. Details about the event are available through the White House Press Office at

“Access to a college education has never been more important,” said Alexander. “If nothing changes, the United States will fall to 19th in college completion rates among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, countries.”


LSU is already a leader in making a college degree accessible and affordable. In FY2013-14, LSU’s tuition and fees were 17 percent below the anticipated SREB peer average of $9,476 and lower than the national public 4-year college average tuition, which is expected to exceed $9,000 in FY2013-14. LSU also supported students facing significant financial need with $11.5 million in institutionally provided aid and provided about 95 percent of hardship waivers given by Louisiana post-secondary institutions.


Eligible LSU students receive a maximum $5,550 in Pell Grants annually. Last year, 20 percent of LSU’s undergraduate students qualified, receiving an average award of $4,077. Many LSU students and families also qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which offers up to $2,500 in tax breaks to help pay for college expenses. Approximately 55 percent of all Louisiana parents/students qualify for AOTC each year.


The average LSU graduate paid about 13 percent less toward student loan repayment each month than their peers across the country. This accounts for LSU’s low 4.9 percent loan default rate – the national average is 13.4 percent.


Of the LSU 2011 graduating class:

  • Nationally: 66 percent left college with debt averaging $26,600 per student.
  • Louisiana: 46 percent of graduates had debt averaging $22,455.
  • LSU: 37 percent of students left school with debt averaging $20,337.


LSU graduates also earned 15 percent more than their competitors, averaging $44,100, while nationally, the average beginning income was $38,311. Less debt and higher starting salaries mean LSU graduates get to begin their careers in a very enviable financial position, no matter where they started out. LSU’s mid-career (age 42-45) average earnings rank 34 out of 167 public research universities surveyed.


“We’re proud of the education we provide our students and the success they earn with an LSU degree,” said Alexander. “I’m honored to take part in the White House summit on education access, and I look forward to engaging in conversation and developing solutions with other university presidents – and the President of the United States.”


Only 100 university presidents of 4,000 from around the country have been asked to attend and advise at the White House summit.


*All statistics come from the following sources: “Student Debt and the Class of 2011,” The Institute for College Access & Success. October 2012, and “College Reality Check,” The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Ashley  Berthelot 
LSU Research Communications

Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014