• Increasing College Opportunity and Graduation. A child born into the bottom 20% of the income scale has a less than 1-in-20 shot of making it to the top if they do not go to college. Earning a college degree changes those odds to closer to 1-in-5. That’s why earlier this year, the President and First Lady hosted a first-ever White House Call to Action on College Opportunity with over 150 new commitments from colleges, universities, businesses, philanthropists, and non-profits to improve college access and success for low-income students. The President is calling for a continued mobilization throughout 2014 to foster new commitments to action to help more low-income students access and succeed in college, including from additional colleges and universities, businesses, nonprofits and other leaders.
• Making College More Affordable for American Families. Higher education is the single most important investment students can make in their own futures. At the same time, students are taking on increasing amounts of debt to pay for it. That’s why since taking office, President Obama has made historic investments in college affordability, increasing the maximum Pell Grant award for working and middle class families by more than $900, creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and enacting effective student loan reforms eliminating bank subsidies and making college more affordable. In August, President Obama outlined an ambitious new agenda, including the development of a new system of college ratings to incentivize colleges to focus on affordability and value and to help students and families make better college choices. Because higher education leaders across the country are already finding new ways to help students learn more at lower cost, the agenda includes partnering with college and universities, entrepreneurs, researchers, and thought leaders from the education and technology fields to help empower students and families with the tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about going to and paying for college and to support innovations and technologies that can lead to breakthroughs on college cost and quality. This year the President will continue pursing executive actions to spur the development, validation, and scaling-up of these cutting-edge innovations.
• Continuing to Work With Congress •
• Making High-Quality Preschool Available to Children All Across America. To succeed in the 21st century, we must have the most dynamic, educated workforce in the world; that education has to start early in life. President Obama has laid out a bold vision to expand access to high-quality pre-school to every four-year old in America and improve access to voluntary home visiting programs and other services for our youngest children. This year, the President worked with Congress to enact a down-payment on this vision by reversing funding cuts to Head Start to provide critical early education to our nation’s children, launching new Early Head-Start Child Care Partnerships to expand access to high-quality infant and toddler care for tens of thousands of additional children and expanding access to high-quality public preschool programs through Race to the Top.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.