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  • Thomas G. Mortenson — (tom@postsecondary.org)

    Thomas G. Mortenson is a Senior Scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education in Washington, D.C. and an independent higher education policy analyst.

    Tom's policy research focuses on opportunity for postsecondary education and training and the ways public policy fosters or impedes access to that opportunity. He has special concern for populations that are under-represented in higher education. His studies have addressed academic and financial preparation for college, access, choice, persistence, attainment, and labor force entry of college graduates. He is particularly interested in public and private finance of higher education opportunity and the enrollment consequences of the cost-shift from taxpayers to students that has been underway since 1980. He has been employed in policy research and budget analysis roles for the University of Minnesota, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois State Scholarship Commission, and the American College Testing Program.

    Currently, Tom is editor and publisher of Postsecondary Education Opportunity (PEO), a monthly research newsletter devoted to analysis and reporting on the demographics, sociology, history, politics and economics of educational opportunity after high school. He provides consulting services on higher educational opportunity policy to state and national organizations, and makes presentations on opportunity throughout the country.

  • Lana Muraskin, Ph.D.

    Lana Muraskin is an education consultant focusing on evaluation and postsecondary access and retention. Her recent work identifies practices that may improve postsecondary access and outcomes for low income and first generation students. She was the principal investigator of the National Evaluation of Student Support Services and the evaluation’s follow up study of “best practices” in Student Support Services (under subcontract to Westat). She participated in the design and the case study portion of the National Evaluation of Talent Search (under subcontract to Mathematica), and played a major role in the first two years of the National Evaluation of GEAR UP (under subcontract to Westat).

    In work with the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and its institutes, Dr. Muraskin has published Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students (with John Lee, support from Lumina Foundation), Upward Bound Math Science — STEM Enrichment Education that Works (support from the GE Foundation), Graduates of Denver Public Schools — College Access and Success (with Pam Buckley, support from the Piton Foundation), and A Structured Freshman Year for At-Risk Students (a COE monograph). In other recent work, Dr. Muraskin has just completed a design paper for new federal evaluations of the GEAR UP program, focused on identifying best practices (under contract with RTI). She has also participated in the Achieving the Dream initiative of the Lumina Foundation, aimed at improve persistence and graduation rates in community colleges.

    Dr. Muraskin has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. She has served as a federal education official, as the research and development director for a national education association, and as a senior staff member and a principal of contract research firms.

  • Arnold Mitchem, Ph.D.

    Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President Emeritus of the Council for Opportunity in Education, has been a voice for low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities his entire career. Thanks to his work, the federally funded TRIO Programs have expanded by nearly 400% and now serve more than an estimated 790,000 students at 1,000 colleges and universities.

    He began his career on the History faculty at Marquette University in Milwaukee and was named the Director of the Educational Opportunity Program in 1969. He relocated to Washington, D.C., in 1986 to serve as President of the Council for Opportunity in Education until October 2013.

    Dr. Mitchem has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from eleven universities — Lehman College; DePaul University; University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; University of Liverpool, Marquette University; Marycrest College; University of Massachusetts Boston; Lewis University; St. Joseph's University; Saint Louis University; and SUNY Buffalo State.