On December 4, President Obama, Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama joined education leaders from around the country for the second White House College Opportunity Day of Action.
Announcing more than 600 new action plans to help better prepare students to attend and graduate college, the Obama administration is putting forth efforts for the United States to be back in the leading spot for having the highest college attainment rate. Working with college presidents and other educational leaders, the announcement challenged leaders to commit to improving the education market in at least 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 First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM.
A few specific programs announced at Thursday’s event included a $30 million donation from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to help increase the college enrollment and college graduation rates for low-income students through the Dell Scholars Program and the work of the National College Advising Corps, Blue Engine, iMentor, OneGoal and others. The Obama administration is also working with Chicago Public Schools and Thrive Chicago to pilot a professional development program to help school counselors and post-secondary advising staffs with the necessary tools they need to offer the best advising practices. Additionally, the administration is bringing together 13 states to increase the sills of professionals who advise students, especially low-income and first generation students, to pursue their college dreams.
The administration is also working with education leaders to implement plans to train more than 10,000 K-12 teachers with expertise in STEM fields to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals, in addition to working with colleges to increase the enrollment of students who pursue STEM degrees.