In October, GGU hosted an inspiring forum on The Future of Higher Education (And GGU’s Place In It) that featured distinguished higher education change-makers and leaders President Emeritus of New York University John Sexton, Founder and CEO of Outlier.org Aaron Rasmussen, Founder and Co-CEO of HolonIQ Maria Spies, and Vice Chancellor and CEO of NYU Abu Dhabi Mariet Westermann. The breadth and depth of the speakers’ expertise spanned Institutional leadership, philanthropy, technology and data, private sector, global and local.
“We lift our sights to the horizon with the help of our informative speakers,” remarked President David Fike during the forum, “but it is not a distant horizon. Our panelists are making the future happen now. Today, we are gaining the information and perspectives that GGU needs to define our place in the rapidly changing higher education landscape.”
Panelist Mariet Westermann spoke to one of the themes of the discussion: the opportunity gap in higher education. There are talented learners around the world and here in the United States. How do we make education available to more students and future learners?
Mariet believes that improving access to education is crucial to alleviating global poverty.
Poverty can be thought of as the stacking of gaps: lack of access to food and water, shelter, health care, education, and so on. If you manage to close a poverty gap in education, that’s where you could make one of the biggest differences in a person’s life.
“The gift of fixing the poverty gap in education keeps on giving over the lifetime, not just in terms of financial resources, though that is a proven fact,” said Mariet. “The more education you complete, the better you do financially over the course of your life. But, closing that gap has so many other benefits that help close other poverty gaps that you could experience.”
Expanding access to education benefits students, and also society.
“The well-being of our economies, polities, and civil societies depends so greatly on having a broadly and well-educated population,” she said.
But, Mariet noted, we are not meeting the demand from hundreds of millions of students around the world who are not able to access higher education.
“Today there are 200 million tertiary educational students globally,” said Mariet. “That is not enough but that number is up from 100 million in 2000. With the headwinds facing us, however university capacity around the world is unlikely to grow fast enough.”
Mariet believes it is incumbent on all educational institutions to do all they can to help make education more widely accessible.
“We have to do our part, as GGU has had in its mission forever, which is so powerful,” said Mariet.
Today, GGU is doing more than ever to fulfill our mission to educate working adults. Thanks to generous gifts from alumni and supporters, we are offering a wide range of scholarships and grants—from the GGU Scholars Award to the Phanstiel Fellowship—to help make a GGU education even more affordable. GGU Worldwide, in partnership with UpGrad, offers highly affordable degrees globally. Beginning Spring 2023, Degrees+, in partnership with Outlier.org, will offer high-quality associate degrees for the low annual tuition of $4,470—with no hidden fees. And, in a bold move, GGU Law School has provided Presidential Scholarships to all newly admitted, full-time JD students, a transformative approach that stands firmly on GGU’s foundation of access and opportunity.
“Golden Gate University is expanding upon our mission of access to reach underserved students globally,” said GGU Provost Brent White, “with a goal of providing radically affordable access to higher education to students here and all around the world.”