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President Obama Holds White House Summit On Expanding College Options for Low Income Students

Obama White House Summit on College For Low Income Students

Only 9 percent of people born into the bottom quarter of incomes earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared with 54 percent for people in the top quarter of incomes, according to the White House. President and Mrs. Obama want to change that with a new program called “Call to Action on College Opportunity” which was announced on January 16 at a summit held by both the President and First Lady.

The meeting invited 80 attendees that included college and university presidents and leaders from nonprofits, foundations, state governments and businesses across the country. The purpose of the summit was to discuss initiatives that will "… reach out to [low-income] young people and help them not just go to college, but graduate from college or university," according to Mr. Obama.

Some of the highlights of the initiative include:

#1- Connecting low-income students to the right schools - low-income does not equate to low intelligence, yet many low-income students apply to less competitive or challenging colleges due to lack of financial means. The new program will increase recruitment of low-income students, expand financial aid, and increase grants and scholarships based on need.

#2 - Helping low-income students prepare for college - this part of the initiative focuses on reaching low-income students as early as the 7th grade to help them prepare for college. These specific actions include creating tutoring opportunities between colleges and high schools, and providing more teaching in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

#3- Increasing high school counseling and test preparation - this initiative will expand counseling programs for low-income middle school to high school students who often lack resources to help them choose career paths or apply to colleges. More online tutorials such as those being planned by Khan Academy will also provide college-prep information and advice designed specifically for low-income students with high potential.

#4 - Increasing college remedial classes - remedial classes are those that take students back to the basics in a course in which they are struggling, helping them improve their understanding of a subject. The new program pushes for an increase of remedial classes at the college level. Remedial courses have been shown to improve success rates for students in college.

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