UM-Dearborn announces commitment to expand college access at White House event

12/4/2014
UM-Dearborn Chancellor Little at White House College Opportunity Day of Action

University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor Little joined President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden and hundreds of college presidents and higher education leaders to announce new actions to help students prepare for and graduate from college.

Today, University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little will join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the president’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits to support students across the country to help the nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

“The University of Michigan-Dearborn prides itself on providing an accessible, high-quality education to students of varying means in southeast Michigan,” said Daniel Little, chancellor, University of Michigan-Dearborn. “I applaud President Obama for not only emphasizing the importance of a college education but providing additional federal support for low-income students to obtain a college degree and increase opportunities for a comfortable and productive life.”

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around 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 the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

UM-Dearborn has committed to partnering with a number of local high schools to ensure 90 percent of seniors complete at least two college applications by Dec. 31, 2015, 70 percent of seniors complete the FAFSA by June 30, 2016, and it seeks to achieve at least a six percent college enrollment rate increase among partner high schools from the Class of 2013 baseline by December 31, 2016. UM-Dearborn will achieve these significant goals through partnerships with the National College Advising Corps and the Michigan College Access Network. Both organizations have strong records of expanding the quantity and quality of college access professions working in Michigan high schools.

The president will announce new steps on how his administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college. Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

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. Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

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