04/03/2014 11:47 am ET Updated Jun 03, 2014

International Summit Focuses on Transforming College Opportunities

On April 9 &10, global leaders in higher education and the corporate sector from China, Ireland, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France (and the U.S.) will make their way to small town Essex, NY to discuss expanding college access, the way students will learn in the coming years, and the challenges that currently leave low-income students behind.

Organized by College For Every Student (CFES), a national non-profit that works with low-income students to help them access and succeed in college, and Trinity College Dublin, a university in Ireland that works through the Trinity Access Programs (TAP) to encourage students with ability and potential from low income backgrounds to participate in higher education, "The Galileo Summit" will focus on the structure, policy, pedagogy, and funding of college 2025.

"In order to build a strong and vibrant society and meet job market needs, new technologies will require a Galileo-like shift in our perception and experience of teaching and revolutionizing current models of delivery," said Rick Dalton, President and CEO of College For Every Student. "More important, we must ensure that underserved students can leverage these changes to become college ready with the tools to be successful - this is what will be the heart of our discussion."

Broken funding formulas and poorly prepared students, combined with inequities in who attends and who graduates sound an alarm.

To meet job-market needs, the USA alone must ensure that an additional 10 million students graduate from college by 2025.

"To build a strong and vibrant society, it's critical we have talented, flexible individuals from all backgrounds, capable of leading, innovating and navigating significant future domestic and global challenges," remarked Dalton.

Leaders from industrialized nations increasingly acknowledge that college is the new finish line, the equivalent credential in today's job market of a secondary school diploma a generation ago, and that not nearly enough young people are even starting, let alone, finishing the race.

Also participating in the Summit are executives from Google, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Harvard, General Electric, Boeing, Ernst & Young and the US Military Academy at West Point, among others.

"These leaders understand the need for a global solution and are committed to working together to create and sustain higher education opportunities that meet the needs of all young people with talent and motivation, regardless of socioeconomic background," stated Cliona Hannon, Director of Trinity Access Programs (TAP) at Trinity College Dublin.

Following the Summit, the organizers will produce a solutions-driven white paper on what college will look like in 2025 and what action we must now take to significantly increase the proportion of low-income global citizens with college degrees.