President Obama and First Lady’s Call to Action on College Opportunity

Today, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady will join college presidents and other education leaders from around the nation at the second White House College Opportunity Day of Action, where organizations will announce over 600 new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college. Today’s participants were challenged to commit to a new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges focused on promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. President Obama believes that the United States should lead the world in college attainment, as it did a generation ago. Because completing college is key to strengthening the middle class and should not be a luxury for the few, the President has increased Pell Grants by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, capped student loan payments to 10 percent of monthly income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition in higher education.

Florida International University, which enrolls 11,000 STEM majors, 8,800 of whom are from underrepresented groups – commits to increasing overall STEM graduation rates by 10 percent through providing faculty with the time and funding to receive professional development in evidence-based teaching methods and integrating the culture of evidence-based instruction into faculty assignments, evaluation, tenure, and promotion processes.

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