The White House announced Friday afternoon it is rescheduling a planned conference on the success of lower-income students, citing the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

The conference was to be held in Washington on Dec. 11 with roughly 140 leaders in government, business, philanthropy and higher education – including Yale President Peter Salovey. According to Inside Higher Education, the details of the meeting, which the White House has kept quiet about, are still in flux.

Still, the White House is pushing participants to set quantifiable goals for improvement in a variety of fields, notably remedial education success rates, enrollment of lower-income students and student support services.

“We want to use this event as an opportunity to see how we can scale up the most successful approaches to helping students reach and succeed in college,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told Yahoo News on Dec. 3, a statement President Obama echoed in a speech this week.

Today, a White House spokesman declined to comment on the meeting. According to Inside Higher Education, the White House, in an email to invitees, said it was “100 percent” committed to rescheduling the conference for the early part of 2014.

The postponement comes less than a day after Mandela’s death. World leaders from across the globe, including Obama, are expected to travel to South Africa early next week to honor the former president.