College Possible announces plan to expand college access at White House event

This morning, as a part of The White House College Opportunity Day of Action, College Possible CEO and founder Jim McCorkell – alongside President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders – announced new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

This morning’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 Jan. 14.

In particular, College Possible – an organization working in Milwaukee and across the country to coach low-income students to and through college – has committed to an ambitious growth plan including expanding to 10 cities by 2020, engaging with 50 new college partners and leading the College Success Corps Coalition, advocating for the dedication of 5,000 AmeriCorps coaches to college success. So far this year, College Possible has served 1,500 students in the Milwaukee community.

“Educating Milwaukee’s capable low-income student is not only the right thing to do; it is the only way to maintain a strong local workforce in a competitive global economy,” said College Possible executive director Edie Turnbull in a press release Thursday morning. “The community has embraced our mission, directly contributing to the strong results that have led us to the doors of the White House.”

Today, only nine 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.

This morning’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.

In addition, President Obama will announce new steps on how the administration plans to help 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. 

“The surest path out of poverty is a four-year degree, and we help our students reach graduation in a cost-effective way by harnessing the power of national service,” Turnbull said. “This makes our model efficient, and we’re thrilled this approach – that has changed the lives of so many students in our community –will be available to new communities. When college is possible, anything is possible.”

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