President Barack Obama said every American has a responsibility in improving the opportunity to go to and graduate college.
“At the heart of the American ideal is the sense that we are all in it together,” Obama said Thursday, speaking at the White House's "College Opportunity Day of Action."
"Nobody is guaranteed success, but everybody has got access to the possibilities of success, and that we are willing to work not just to make sure our own children have pathways to success but that everybody does; that at some level, everybody is our kid, everybody is our responsibility," Obama added. "We are going to give back to everybody.
The focus of the event was on partnerships with colleges and universities to increase college graduation rates, increase access to college for lower income students and boost the number of students in science, technology, engineering and math — or "STEM" — professions.
Obama touched briefly on the events of the previous two weeks, where grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City declined to indict white police officers in the deaths of black men, both of which sparked massive public outcries.
The president said Americans must focus on what unites them.
"Beyond the specific issue that has to be addressed, making sure that people have confidence that police and law enforcement and prosecutors are serving everybody equally, there’s a larger question of restoring a sense of common purpose," Obama said.
He went on to add, “Big challenges like these should challenge us. Big challenges like these should unite us around an opportunity agenda that brings us together.”