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Federal panel to discuss impact of economic downturn on college access June 13 at Vanderbilt University

Jun. 4, 2008, 1:45 PM

Live video of the event will be available at beginning at 9 a.m. June 13.

The impact of the nation’s current economic downturn on low- and moderate-income students is the topic of an all-day national roundtable discussion scheduled for June 13 at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST at the Wyatt Center Rotunda. It is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To register online go to: The registration deadline is June 9.

The panel is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which recently released data that show millions of college-qualified high school graduates encounter significant financial barriers that may worsen considerably over the next decade.

Panelists will include college presidents, representatives of lenders, state higher education officers, education scholars and advocates for student borrowers.

"The current instability in the American economy has many families worried about whether the financial resources needed to send a child to college will be available in the coming years," Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, said. "Peabody is honored to host and participate in this critical discussion."

John Gaines, Vanderbilt’s director of enrollment management for Vanderbilt, will introduce the roundtable. Stella Flores, assistant professor of public policy and higher education, will participate in the roundtable’s first session, which will examine how deteriorating economic conditions may affect institutional financing, state appropriations, charitable giving, grant aid from all sources, and work and loan funds.

In addition to Flores, the first session panelists are Eduardo J. Padrón, president, Miami Dade College; Nancy Moody, president, Lincoln Memorial University; Brett Lief, president, National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs; John Nelson, managing director for health care, higher education and infrastructure, Moody’s Public Finance Group; Charles S. Lenth, vice president for policy analysis and academic affairs, State Higher Education Executive Officers; and Harris Miller, president, Career College Association.

The second session will focus on additional steps that federal, state, institutional and private parties may need to take to ensure student access and success moving forward. Panelists for this session are Hazel O’Leary, president, Fisk University; David Gregory, vice chancellor for administration and facilities management, Tennessee Board of Regents; Richard G. Rhoda, executive director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission; Philip R. Day, Jr., president and CEO, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators; Patrick M. Callan, president, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education; Sarita E. Brown, president, Excelencia in Education; and Deanne Loonin, director, Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, National Consumer Law Center.

For more information about the panel, contact Zakiya Smith, assistant director of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, at

For more information about Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, ranked as the No. 2 education school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2008, visit

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS