More Than a Hundred Commitments to Increase College Opportunity Announced

More Than a Hundred Commitments to Increase College Opportunity Announced

The White House has announced commitments from more than a hundred colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, foundations, businesses, and philanthropists in support of efforts to expand access to college for low-income students.

At a White House education summit last week, more than a hundred institutions of higher education and forty nonprofits pledged to support efforts in four areas, with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math: connecting more low-income students to a college that is right for them and ensuring that more students graduate (80 colleges and 15 organizations); increasing the pool of students prepared for college through early intervention efforts (30 colleges and 12 organizations); leveling the playing field in college advising and test preparation (20 colleges and 16 organizations); and seeking breakthroughs in remedial education (20 colleges, 23 states, and 10 organizations).

Commitments include $65 million over five years from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and $30 million over three years from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for initiatives to increase the number of college graduates in STEM fields; $35 million for full-tuition four-year scholarships for two hundred and fifty additional students from the Posse Foundation's new STEM partner institutions; $12.5 million in funding from JP Morgan Chase, the Overdeck Family and Hewlett foundations, and the Office of the New York State Attorney General in support of 100kin10, a network formed to prepare a hundred thousand excellent STEM teachers over a decade; $10 million over three years from the John M. Belk Endowment to the College Advising Corps for its work in rural North Carolina; and efforts by Achieving the Dream, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Jobs for the Future to explore the creation of a stakeholder "Breakthrough Collaborative" that would share data and progress markers with respect to the implementation and improvement of remediation and gateway courses.

"[W]e still have a long way to go to unlock the doors of higher education to more Americans and especially lower-income Americans," said President Barack Obama in a speech during the summit. "We’re going to have to make sure they’re ready to walk through those doors....Unfortunately, today only 30 percent of low-income students enroll in college right after high school and, far worse, by their mid-twenties only 9 percent earn a bachelor's degree. So if we as a nation can expand opportunity and reach out to those young people and help them not just go to college but graduate from college or university, it could have a transformative effect."

For a complete list of commitments, visit the White House Web site.