Symposium on Higher Education Access

Friday, September 25, 2015, 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
University of California, Irvine School of Law, EDU 1131

The financial benefits of a college degree continue to grow, contributing to a widening gap between graduates and those who are not graduates. Yet the cost of college continues also to rise, and with it, the prospect of a life-altering student debt burden. Some students will be winners, graduating from elite institutions with the world as their oyster, while others, struggling financially, will question whether college is worth the price.

How should we think about the complex system of financial aid that provides access to millions of students, even as it hobbles some of them? What should be the basis for determining how to fill scarce spots at the most selective colleges and universities, where members of elite faculties train students to work with the most sophisticated resources? What should state and local government’s role–and goal–be?

These are some of the questions to be addressed at this Symposium on Higher Education Access. The timely event, coming at once as popular concern mounts over college costs and student indebtedness and as we mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark Higher Education Act of 1965, brings together leading scholars of education law and policy and experts on the workings and effects of financial aid and selective admissions to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the latest, continuing crisis in higher education, and to suggest a way forward.

Register online >

Keynote Speaker

Associate Justice Goodwin Liu,  California Supreme Court

Featured Speakers

Sandy Baum,  George Washington University Graduate School of Education & Human Development

Deborah Bial,  The Posse Foundation

James Ming Chen, Michigan State University College of Law

Osamudia James, University of Miami School of Law

William Kidder, University of California, Riverside

David F. Labaree, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Rachel F. Moran, UCLA School of Law

Eileen O’Leary, Stonehill College and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Michael A. Olivas, University of Houston Law Center

Michael Simkovic, Seton Hall University School of Law

Kimberly West-Faulcon, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles


Friday, September 25, 2015


8:45 a.m. Opening Remarks

9 a.m. Keynote: Justice Goodwin Liu, followed by Q&A

10 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. Panel 1: New Perspectives on Financial Obstacles to Access

  • Sandy Baum
  • James Ming Chen
  • Eileen O’Leary
  • Michael Simkovic
  • Moderator: Jonathan Glater

11:45 a.m. Lunch provided in Law School courtyard

12:30 p.m. Plenary Discussion: Random Thoughts on College Residency, International Students, and Postsecondary Finance — Michael A. Olivas

1:15 p.m. Break

1:30 p.m. Panel 2: Rethinking Merit in the Selective Admissions Process

  • Deborah Bial
  • Osamudia James
  • Kimberly West-Faulcon
  • Moderator:  Bryant Garth

2:45 p.m. Break

3 p.m. Panel 3: Past, Present and Future Goals of Federal Higher Education Policy

4:15 p.m. Closing remarks

To request reasonable accommodations for a disability, please contact Crissandra Flores at or (949) 824-0941