California Community Colleges forges guaranteed transfer agreement with nine HBCUs

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                     

California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

March 17, 2015

Contact: Paige Marlatt Dorr

Office: 916.327.5356

Cell: 916.601.8005

Office email: pdorr@cccco.edu

California Community Colleges forges guaranteed transfer agreement with nine historically black colleges and universities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Beginning fall 2015, California community college transfer students who meet certain academic criteria will be guaranteed admission to nine historically black colleges and universities, thanks to an agreement the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the leaders of the institutions signed at the board’s meeting today.

“The California Community Colleges is working on multiple fronts to open avenues of opportunity for our students,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “This agreement opens a new and streamlined transfer pathway for our students to some of the finest and culturally diverse institutions of higher learning in the United States. I thank our nine partners for working with us to make it possible.”

The nine historically black colleges and universities participating in the agreement are:

Under the agreement, students who apply to the schools and obtain a transfer-level associate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and complete either the University of California Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, or the California State University General Education Breadth pattern, will be guaranteed admission with junior standing.

A second option to earn guaranteed admission requires transfer students to earn 30 or more CSU or UC transferrable units with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Other advantages conferred to transfer students under the agreement include priority consideration for housing, consideration for transfer scholarships for students with a 3.2 or higher GPA, and pre-admission advising.

For certain majors, students may need to fulfill additional prerequisites and other requirements.

Eight of the participating colleges and universities are private institutions. Lincoln University of Missouri is public, and will offer in-state tuition for California community college transfer students.

Today’s agreement supports a White House initiative, led by Dr. George Cooper, to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality higher education to students.

“California community college students and the nine participating schools will benefit immensely from the agreement,” said Cooper. “The schools will have an even larger pool of gifted students knocking on their doors and California community college students will be guaranteed transfer to four-year institutions with rich histories, traditions and track records of success.”

Historically black colleges and universities were founded to serve the higher education needs of African-American students, though they are open to students of any ethnicity.

These colleges and universities are typically smaller in student size than other schools. Many classes are taught by professors rather than teaching assistants in a nurturing and supportive environment with many opportunities for student leadership development.

Jovon Duke, 22, attended El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. and transferred to Fisk University in 2013 because of its small class sizes and friendly, supportive atmosphere. “Fisk is such a tight-knitted community and Nashville is great. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to take on leadership positions and have made many friends and close relationships with my professors. I love it here,” said Duke. He plans on earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and moving on to either Middle Tennessee State University or Case Western to get a master’s degree in social work.

There are 105 historically black colleges and universities in the country, with most located in the South and East Coast.

Many historically black colleges and universities were founded after the Civil War, after the Morrell Act permitting the development of land grant colleges was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

For more information on today’s agreement and the participating colleges and universities, please visit www.cccco.edu/HBCUTransfer.

 

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/, https://www.facebook.com/CACommColleges, or https://twitter.com/CalCommColleges.

 

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MBK: One-Year Progress Report to the President

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2015

 

My Brother’s Keeper Task Force: One-Year Progress Report to the President

On February 27, 2014, President Barack Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) and issued a powerful call to action to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people, and often by boys and young men of color in particular. The President’s announcement encouraged candid dialogues around the country and a greater sense of responsibility among community leaders, and young people themselves to put all youth in a position to thrive, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Over the course of the past year, efforts have advanced along three areas of focus based on the goals laid out in the MBK Presidential Memorandum: state and local engagement, private sector action – independent nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate action; and Public Policy review and reform. The report being released today provides an update on all three approaches over the course of a year since the MBK launch. You can find the full report HERE.

 

State and Local Engagement: The MBK Community Challenge

Since late September 2014, nearly 200 mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the MBK Community Challenge in partnership with more than 2,000 individual community-based allies. These “MBK Communities” are working with leading experts in youth and community development to design and implement cradle-to-college-and-career action plans. Within six months of accepting the Challenge, MBK Communities commit to review local public policy, host action summits, and start implementing their locally tailored action plans to address opportunity gaps. MBK Communities are provided with technical assistance to develop, implement and track plans of action from both federal agencies and independent organizations with related expertise.

 

Challenge acceptors (full list) include:

  • The nation’s five largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
  • Small cities and towns, including Prichard, AL, Berea, OH, Carlisle, PA, Holly Hill, SC, and Ranson, WV.
  • Cities with some of the highest African American populations, including Detroit, Birmingham and Washington, DC.
  • Cities with some of the highest Hispanic populations, including San Francisco, Dallas, Miami and Phoenix.
  • Seventeen Tribal Nations, including the Cherokee, Cheyenne River, Hoonah and Navajo tribal nations.

 

Private-Sector Action: Business, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Action

Foundations, businesses, and social enterprises have responded to the President’s call to action by taking steps to ensure that communities have the support they need and by providing funding and advice for aligned national initiatives. More than $300 million in grants and in-kind resources have been independently committed already to advance the mission of MBK, including  investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms, and school redesign. For example, the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) is coordinating the leaders of 63 of the largest urban school systems in the country in a pledge to change life outcomes by better serving students at every stage of their education; Prudential announced a commitment of $13 million to support technical assistance for MBK Communities as well as impact investments for innovative for-profit and nonprofit social purpose enterprises that eliminate barriers to financial and social mobility; and on Christmas Day 2014, the NBA launched a public service announcement and campaign in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to recruit 25,000 new mentors over the next five years.

 

Policy: The Federal Response

The MBK Task Force, an interagency working group of representatives of over ten agencies across the Federal government,  has encouraged and tracked implementation of the recommendations outlined in the initial 90-day report issued in May. Those efforts have led to greater focus on federal investments that support evidence-based interventions. For example, grant programs, like the Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative and the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, harness federal resources to create clearer pathways to success by helping youth build both work and life skills. Public-private partnerships like Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps are working with the Corporation for National and Community Service to engage underserved youth in service that has the potential to transform their lives and the communities they serve. Similarly, the Departments of Education and Justice issued Correctional Education guidance to help to ensure that incarcerated youth have the full protection of existing laws and benefits. The federal government has also advanced its efforts to track quality data for boys and young men of color and their peers.

Through MBK, this Administration will continue to improve transparency and accountability to address persistent opportunity gaps at every level and improve outcomes for all young people to ensure they have the opportunity to succeed.

 

You can find the full report HEREhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/mbk_progress_report_0.pdf

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White House Honors Historically Black Colleges and Universities “Champions of Change”

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of Communications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 20, 2015

 

White House Honors Historically Black Colleges and Universities “Champions of Change”

WASHINGTON, DC – On February 24, the White House will recognize faculty and staff members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as “Champions of Change” who are finding success promoting college completion and success. These leaders have worked with students, families, and policymakers to build pathways to graduation at their respective institutions. The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by actor and E! News Co-Host, Terrence Jenkins, remarks from Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit >www.whitehouse.gov/live< on February 24, at 10:00AM.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit >www.whitehouse.gov/champions<. Follow the conversation at #HBCUchamps.

Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., Auburn Alabama

Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., serves as Director of the Integrative Biosciences PhD Program at Tuskegee University.  This program facilitates the progression of talented, motivated students from the collegiate through doctorate level to careers in the professorate and other areas.  A second-generation college graduate and the second person in her family to receive a PhD degree, Dr. Alexander is also a collaborator on several federally-funded projects involving graduate and undergraduate education, especially initiatives meant to increase access to education for socioeconomically-deprived students. She also leads programs designed to increase both diversity and America’s competitiveness in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, Ph.D., PE, Wilberforce, Ohio

Dr. Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, serves as a Professor of Manufacturing Engineering and Past Chairman of the Manufacturing Engineering Department undergraduate program at Central State University (CSU). Over the past 30 years, he has supported hundreds of CSU Manufacturing Engineers, CSU STEM students, and CSU graduates, leading to their gainful employment in the U.S. and around the world.

Frank A. James, Little Rock, Arkansas

Frank James is a Professor of Mathematics at Philander Smith College a small Methodist institution located in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He was the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Philander Smith College from 2006-2013. He also serves as the Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Implementation Grant [2012-2017]. He mentors students interested in becoming Engineers through a 3/2 joint MOU with the University of Arkansas and Philander Smith College.

Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., Bowie, Maryland

Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., currently serves as Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for Bowie State University, one of the oldest historically black universities in the nation and the oldest in the state of Maryland. In his capacity he works with and advises the Provost on student concerns ranging from academic difficulties to retention and graduation efforts. Also, he is tenured faculty in the Child and Adolescent Studies program, preparing graduates to make significant contributions in the global community.

Gregory Goins, Ph.D., Greensboro, North Carolina

Dr. Goinsis an Associate Professor of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University where he organized the Integrative Biomathematical Learning and Empowerment Network for Diversity (iBLEND). The iBLEND initiative represents a partnership between faculty mentors from various science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines working together to retain undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In addition, iBLEND mentors help students prepare for future post-graduate opportunities and careers primarily at the interface between biology and mathematics. Since 2010, over 100 undergraduates from North Carolina A&T State University have completed research internships collaborating with iBLEND.

Herbert W. Thompson, Ph.D., Daytona Beach, Florida

Dr. Herbert W. Thompson is a tenured professor of Biology and Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CSEM) at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Under Dr. Thompson’s leadership, the CSEM, which is organized into five departments offering curricula for Baccalaureate Degrees, recently assessed each program to insure that graduates have the knowledge to solve real world problems.  A strong student advocate, Dr. Thompson continues to mentor students and faculty.  Over the years he has guided many to careers in medicine, STEM research and STEM education.  Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as Chair of the Department of Biology and Project Director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at Bethune-Cookman.

J.K. Haynes, Atlanta, Georgia

J.K. Haynes is the David Packard Professor of Science and Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia.  For over 36 years, he has served as a research scientist, professor and administrator at the College.  During this time, he has led numerous efforts to enrich the curriculum and to provide engaging extra-curricula experiences for STEM students as well as to increase the number of STEM graduates of the College.

Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., Huntsville, Alabama

Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., currently serves as the Chairperson and an Associate Professor of the Communication Department at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.   In addition to classroom teaching and academic advising, Dr. Elliott serves as coach of Oakwood’s Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) team, a post she’s held for over 17 years.  Influenced by her mentoring and advising, the team has won two championships and placed in the top four on five occasions. In 2014, HCASC named her Coach of the Year.  Dr. Elliott’s committee posts include the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Rank and Continuous Appointment, and the Dean’s Council.

Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D, Princess Anne, Maryland

Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. serves as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princess Anne, Maryland. UMES is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and 1890 Land Grant Institution dedicated to providing educational programs for aspiring students. Dr. Johnson has centered his professional efforts on identifying, securing, and establishing resources that create awareness and stimulate interests in the vast opportunities that exist in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. He and a team of faculty members have secured over $3,000,000 in federal, state, and industry funds to aid students in completing financial obligations related to collegiate study, gateway course completion, completing intense research projects, and matriculation to graduation. In addition, Dr. Johnson served, from 1999-2009, as the Director of the UMES Summer Transportation Institute, supported through funds provided from the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration. The program assisted over 200 high school students in honing essential academic and social skills necessary for successful entry into collegiate environments and matriculation through STEM disciplines.

Tanya V. Rush, Baltimore, Maryland

Tanya V. Rush, serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Representing the Vice President in various capacities and special projects, her primary responsibilities include oversight for the Division’s fiscal affairs and providing direct oversight to the directors of the University Health Center, Student Center/Student Activities, and the University Chapel.  Always willing to serve, Tanya volunteers her time with numerous university committees and worthwhile community activities. But her greatest joy is her service to students, undergraduate and graduate.  She is student-centered, dedicated to student development and success – academically, personally and professionally.

Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, Ph.D., Montgomery, Alabama

Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi and is a child of the civil rights movement. She is a professional actress; motivational speaker, theatre director, national museum exhibit director, tenured professor, and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University.  Dean Stewart is a graduate of Jackson State University (B.S.), the University of California at Santa Barbara (M.A.), and Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Theatre.  Stewart was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU school of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. She is a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award winner for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.”  She holds four honorary doctorates degrees and is a life member of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

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Vice President Biden Announces $25 Million in Funding for Cybersecurity Education at HBCUs

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 15, 2015

Vice President Biden Announces $25 Million in Funding for Cybersecurity Education at HBCUs

 

Today, Vice President Biden, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and White House Science Advisor John Holdren are traveling to Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia to announce that the Department of Energy will provide a $25 million grant over the next five years to support cybersecurity education. The new grant will support the creation of a new cybersecurity consortium consisting of 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), two national labs, and a k-12 school district.

 

The Vice President will make the announcement as part of a roundtable discussion with a classroom of cybersecurity leaders and students at Norfolk State University. The visit builds on the President’s announcements on cybersecurity earlier this week, focusing on the critical need to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. job market, while also diversifying the pipeline of talent in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The event and announcement is also an opportunity to highlight the Administration’s ongoing commitment to HBCUs.

 

Details on the Announcement

As highlighted by the President earlier in the week, the rapid growth of cybercrime is creating a growing need for cybersecurity professionals across a range of industries, from financial services, health care, and retail to the US government itself. By some estimates, the demand for cybersecurity workers is growing 12 times faster than the U.S. job market, and is creating well-paying jobs.

 

To meet this growing need, the Department of Energy is establishing the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium with funding from the Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program housed in its National Nuclear Security Administration. The Minority Service Institutions Program focuses on building a strong pipeline of talent from minority-serving institutions to DOE labs, with a mix of research collaborations, involvement of DOE scientists in mentoring, teaching and curriculum development, and direct recruitment of students.

 

With $25M in overall funding over five years, and with the first grants this year, the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium will bring together 13 HBCUs, two DOE labs, and the Charleston County School District with the goal of creating a sustainable pipeline of students focused on cybersecurity issues. The consortium has a number of core attributes:

 

  • It is designed as asystem. This allows students that enter through any of the partner schools to have all consortia options available to them, to create career paths and degree options through collaboration between all the partners (labs and schools), and to open the doors to DOE sites and facilities.

 

  • It has a range of participating higher education institutions.With Norfolk State University as a the lead, the consortium includes a K-12 school district, a two-year technical college, as well as four-year public and private universities that offer graduate degrees.

 

  • Built to change to evolving employer needs:To be successful in the long term, this program is designed to be sufficiently flexible in its organization to reflect the unique regional priorities that Universities have in faculty research and developing STEM disciplines and skills, and DOE site targets for research and critical skill development.

 

  • Diversifying the pipeline by working with leading minority-serving institutions:As the President stated in Executive Order 13532, “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in February 2010, America’s HBCUs, for over 150 years, have produced many of the Nation’s leaders in science, business, government, academia, and the military, and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity.

 

The full list of participating consortium members are:

 

Virginia

Norfolk State University (lead)

 

Georgia

Clark Atlanta University

Paine College

 

Maryland

Bowie State University

 

North Carolina

North Carolina A&T State University

 

South Carolina

Allen University

Benedict College

Claflin University

Denmark Technical College

Morris College

South Carolina State University

Voorhees College

Charleston County School District

 

US Virgin Islands

University of the Virgin Islands

 

California

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

 

New Mexico

Sandia National Laboratory

 

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Press Release – Expanding Library Support for Faculty Research – Sub Grant Awards

PRESS RELEASE 
HBCU Library Alliance Awards Faculty Research Sub Grants to Recipients
Atlanta, GA – December 9, 2014 – The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance has selected eight institutions as recipients of sub grants as part of the Alliance’s larger effort to expand library support for faculty research. This grant funded-initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focuses on improving library services at individual HBCU campuses and developing collaborative approaches to expand HBCU community-wide library support for faculty research.

The sub grants have been awarded to libraries at HBCU institutions that have proposed or are in the midst of model projects that are developing or expanding research support services. These projects will help address an identified gap in HBCU library support for research among faculty and library deans/directors.

The eight HBCU recipients of these sub grants are:

  • Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library (Georgia)
  • Fisk University (Tennessee)
  • Jackson State University (Mississippi)
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Prairie View A&M State University (Texas)
  • Savannah State University (Georgia)
  • Shaw University (North Carolina)
  • Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge (Louisiana)

The sub grants were awarded based on criteria established by a nine member Faculty/Librarian Advisory Committee (FLAC), and included looking at the effectiveness of each library’s proposed plan in addressing an identified faculty need and the ability of the project to serve as a model for other HBCUs. Each sub grant recipient has four months to complete the project. Final performance and financial reports will be included in the project results documentation. In addition, each library grantee will be required to present a webinar in early 2015 to HBCU Library Alliance members to describe their project and its impact.

“We look forward to seeing the project results, and the subsequent impact they have on faculty research in these eight institutions and the greater HBCU community – whether it’s conducting ongoing literature reviews across a wide variety of sources, managing intellectual property rights and copyright, preserving access to data sets and publications through repositories, or forming partnerships to increase availability of resources,” states Cynthia L. Henderson, Executive Director of the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library at Howard University and Chair of the HBCU Library Alliance Board of Directors.

“These sub grants extend the HBCU Library Alliance’s mission to strengthen member libraries through leadership development, archives preservation and strategic planning and assessment. This effort enables the implementation of innovative programs and increasing engagement with faculty in support for research, with the critical need to replicate effective programs on additional HBCU campuses,” says Sandra Phoenix, HBCU Library Alliance Executive Director.

For more information about the HBCU Library Alliance, please visit www.hbculibraries.org.

 

About the HBCU Library Alliance

The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports the collaboration of institutions dedicated to providing resources designed to strengthen the libraries and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their constituents. The purpose of the HBCU Alliance is to ensure excellence in HBCU Libraries and the development, coordination, and promotion of programs and activities to enhance member libraries.

For more infotmatoin please contact:

SANDRA M. PHOENIX
Executive Director
HBCU Library Alliance
sphoenix@hbculibraries.org
www.hbculibraries.org
800-999-8558, ext. 4820
404-702-5854

 

 

 

Xavier receives $19.6 million NIH award to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce

Xavier receives $19.6 million NIH award to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce

NEW ORLEANS (October 22, 2014) – This afternoon Xavier University of Louisiana received a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the national Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative. Xavier will use the grant to expand the already thriving biomedical programs the historically Black university offers its students.

“Xavier is already number one in the nation as the primary undergraduate source of African American Ph.D.s in the life sciences,” said Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University. “Yet, with this grant, we believe we can triple the number of these graduates and increase the number of African American life science Ph.D.s nationally by 10%. We are proud that NIH has named us one of the institutions that it believes can uniquely contribute to this important goal.”

The award is part of a $240 million NIH investment involving more than 10 institutions to develop new approaches to engage student researchers, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, and prepare them to thrive in the NIH-funded workforce. Xavier and fellow awardees will establish a national consortium to train, mentor and encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter into and stay in research careers.

“These awards represent a significant step towards ensuring that NIH’s future biomedical research workforce will reflect the unique perspectives found within the diverse composition of our society,” said Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity.

“Participation in faculty research projects is a major reason for Xavier’s success in graduating STEM [science, technology and engineering] students, many of whom go on to get the Ph.D.,” said Dr. Gene D’Amour, the university’s principal investigator for the grant. “Working with our partner

research universities across the nation, this NIH grant will greatly increase the opportunities for our students to become even more actively engaged in cutting-edge research and to go on to get life science Ph.D.s.”

Xavier will serve as the primary institution for its grant, “Project PATHWAY: Building Integrated Pathways to Independence for Diverse Biomedical Researchers.” It has partnered with Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, the Louisiana State University and its Health Science Center, Tulane University, The University of Wisconsin, Meharry Medical College, George Washington University, Penn State University, the University of Rochester and the University of California San Francisco. Xavier will conduct and oversee the program’s implementation to broaden the interests of students early in their college careers and attract them to a life sciences Ph.D. The primary benefit to the 11 partners is access to Xavier STEM students to participate in their summer research programs and ultimately attract these students to their graduate programs. These students, known as BUILD Scholars, are motivated undergraduate science students with an interest in doing research and pursuing a Ph.D.

“The Laney Graduate School at Emory University is pleased to partner with Xavier University to implement the BUILD Initiative. Our commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion at Emory is being implemented through robust, innovative programming that creates pipelines to increase the number of underrepresented students entering and progressing through doctoral programs in the biomedical sciences. Partnership with Xavier University will undoubtedly benefit ¬ and better ¬ our efforts. A deeper level of engagement with BUILD scholars during their undergraduate experience will create opportunities that we hope will not only attract them to our programs at Emory, but ultimately create and nurture a biomedical workforce that is more representative of the unique perspectives and diversity of our nation,” said Lisa A. Tedesco, Ph.D., Dean, James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies, Emory University.

The BUILD Initiative is expected to include five integrated components:

  •  Tuition scholarships, including stipends, for undergraduate BUILD scholars and possible loan repayment funds for those who pursue a Ph.D.
  • Training and mentorship experiences for students across a wide range of disciplines in the biomedical sciences;
  • Salary support for key faculty responsible for research training;
  • Resources for highly effective mentors to train new mentors; and
  • Support for an “innovation space” environment for BUILD awardee institutions to develop additional creative and novel approaches to increase the diversity of the student pool that enters the Ph.D. training pathway relevant to biomedical research

“This NIH grant just could not be a more exciting opportunity for Xavier faculty and students to expand our research mentoring and training efforts to now ensure even a greater number of our graduates will pipeline into STEM terminal degree programs and subsequent biomedical research careers,” said Dr. Maryam Foroozesh, Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs at Xavier. “Not only does this award speak to the value that Xavier holds for our nation and the world relative to the effective training of biomedical research leaders but also reflects a deep alignment with Xavier’s commitment to its mission and appreciation of its rich history.”

For information about the BUILD awardees and partners, please visit http://commonfund.nih.gov/diversity/fundedresearch

 

U.S. Education Department Announces Final Rule to Strengthen Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program

Today, the Department of Education announced publication of a final rule to strengthen the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, helping more students and families pay for college, and ensuring they have the tools and resources to make informed decisions about financing their educational pursuits.  The new regulations will both expand student access to postsecondary education and safeguard taxpayer dollars by reflecting economic and programmatic changes that have occurred since the program was established over 20 years ago.

“The Department’s top priority is to ensure more students can access and successfully complete a postsecondary education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The updated borrowing standards for the PLUS loan program demonstrate our commitment to ensuring families have access to the financing they need to reach their goal, while being good stewards of taxpayer money.”

The final regulations update the definition of “adverse credit history” for PLUS loan applicants, and implement a streamlined application process for borrowers to obtain a PLUS loan, specifically for those with adverse credit histories. Economic conditions have changed considerably in the last 20 years, and this update will ensure the regulations reflect current circumstances.

The Department is also taking action to provide families with clear, customized information about their loan obligations to support their college financing decisions and ensure their loan debt stays manageable.  To better ensure families are aware of, fully understand, and comfortable with their loan obligations, the Department is developing a new loan counseling tool that would provide customized information to assist PLUS borrowers.  While PLUS borrowers with an adverse credit history determination would be required to complete counseling before their loan could be approved under the Department’s reconsideration process, the tool will be made available to all PLUS loan borrowers.

Finally, to provide more transparency in the PLUS loan program, the Department will also collect and, where appropriate, publish information about the performance of PLUS loans, including default rate information based on credit history characteristics of PLUS loan borrowers and individual institutional default rates.

Background

Prior to the final regulations issued today, the definition of “adverse credit history” under the regulations had not been updated since the Direct Loan program was established in 1994.

The development of the final rule reflects extensive outreach by the Department , including four public hearings across the country to gather feedback and recommendations from students, families, higher education leaders, and community organizations.  The negotiated rulemaking committee then held four sessions from February to May, and reached agreement on the definition of adverse credit history under the regulation.  These draft provisions were published in the Federal Register as a proposed rule (NPRM) on August 8, and included a 30-day public comment period.

The final rule, which will be published in the Federal Register Thursday, Oct. 23, establishes a threshold debt amount of $2,085, indexed to inflation, below which a potential borrower is considered to not have an adverse credit history.

Other changes include:

  • Defining terms such as debt “charged off” and “in collection” to more accurately determine whether an applicant has an adverse credit history.
  • Reducing the time period of a borrower’s credit history that is considered to determine adverse credit history from the last five years to the last two years for charge offs and collections.
  • Requiring that PLUS Loan applicants who, despite having adverse credit are able to receive a PLUS Loan based on either demonstrating extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an eligible endorser, participate in loan counseling.

Under the “master calendar” provision of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the final regulations are scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2015; however, the Department is designating the final regulations for early implementation under section 484(c)(2) of the HEA.  The Department intends to work closely with stakeholders, including our college partners, as they implement the provisions of the new regulation. As current eligibility procedures such as adverse credit history determinations reside with the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, we expect limited impact on current institutional procedures and processes for the packaging of student loans.

The Obama Administration has made historic investments to increases the maximum Pell grant award by $1,000, create the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, and enact effective student loan reforms that eliminated subsidies to banks and reinvested in America’s students and families to make college more affordable.  Along with these efforts, today’s actions expand college opportunity and ensure families have the finances they need to succeed in their college pursuits, to help us reach the President’s goal for America lead the world in college graduation.

President Obama’s Agenda for Creating Economic Opportunity for Millennials

President Obama’s Agenda for Creating Economic Opportunity for Millennials

*         Today, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers released a new report<http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf> that details key characteristics of the Millennial Generation – the largest, most diverse, and most educated generation in our history – and takes an early look at the generation’s adult economic lives and the impact that this Administration’s policies have had on them.

*        Many Millennials came of age during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but thanks to the hard work of the American people and the policies the President has pursued, we’ve laid a new economic foundation<http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/02/remarks-president-economy-northwestern-university> and the United States has come back faster and farther than almost any other nation on Earth.

*         Last week, the President laid out his vision for continuing to build on that foundation for a strong, durable economy with secure middle class jobs. We’re moving forward again and one generation in particular – Millennials – will shape our economy for decades to come.

*         That’s why the President will hold a town hall today and speak directly with Millennials in Los Angeles at Cross Campus, a collaborative workspace and business event venue that brings together a diverse community of freelancers, creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and Venture Capitalist-funded startup teams.

*         The President knows that Millennials – better equipped to overcome our challenges than any previous generation – are crucial to continuing our economic growth and creating good jobs that pay good wages, which is why he’s put in place policies to address the challenges their generation faces by:

o   Investing in our teachers and schools;

o   Making college more affordable and student loan debt more manageable;

o   Building on our technology boom;

o   Expanding access to health coverage and homeownership, and;

o   Providing access to job training and skills programs.

*         The President will continue to act with Congress and on his own where he can to build on this progress to expand opportunity for Millennials and all Americans. He’ll continue to pursue commonsense steps that we could take right now to help our economy immediately and over the long-term.

*         Today’s report explored 15 key facts about the Millennial Generation:

  1. Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population
  2. Millennials have been shaped by technology
  3. Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work
  4. Millennials have invested in human capital more than previous generations
  5. College-going Millennials are more likely to study social science and applied fields
  6. As college enrollments grow, more students rely on loans to pay for post-secondary education
  7. Millennials are more likely to focus exclusively on studies instead of combining school and work
  8. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance coverage during their young adult years
  9. Millennials will contend with the effects of starting their careers during a historic downturn for years to come
  10. Investments in human capital are likely to have a substantial payoff for Millennials
  11. Working Millennials are staying with their early-career employers longer
  12. Millennial women have more labor market equality than previous generations
  13. Millennials tend to get married later than previous generations
  14. Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than young adults in previous generations
  15. College-educated Millennials have moved into urban areas faster than their less educated peers

 

 

 

9/27 Remarks by the President at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

AT CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS AWARDS DINNER

  Walter E. Washington Convention Center

  Washington, D.C.

9:06 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, CBC!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Everybody, have a seat.  It is good to be with you here tonight.  If it wasn’t black tie I would have worn my tan suit.  (Laughter.)  I thought it looked good.  (Laughter.)

Thank you, Chaka, for that introduction.  Thanks to all of you for having me here this evening. I want to acknowledge the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chairwoman Marcia Fudge for their outstanding work.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Shuanise Washington, and the CBC Foundation for doing so much to help our young people aim high and reach their potential.

Tonight, I want to begin by paying special tribute to a man with whom all of you have worked closely with; someone who served his country for nearly 40 years as a prosecutor, as a judge, and as Attorney General of the United States:  Mr. Eric Holder.  (Applause.)  Throughout his long career in public service, Eric has built a powerful legacy of making sure that equal justice under the law actually means something; that it applies to everybody — regardless of race, or gender, or religion, or color, creed, disability, sexual orientation.  He has been a great friend of mine.  He has been a faithful servant of the American people.  We will miss him badly.  (Applause.)

This year, we’ve been marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.  We honor giants like John Lewis — (applause); unsung heroines like Evelyn Lowery.  We honor the countless Americans, some who are in this room — black, white, students, scholars, preachers, housekeepers, patriots all, who, with their bare hands, reached into the well of our nation’s founding ideals and helped to nurture a more perfect union.  We’ve reminded ourselves that progress is not just absorbing what has been done — it’s advancing what’s left undone.

Even before President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, even as the debate dragged on in the Senate, he was already challenging America to do more and march further, to build a Great Society — one, Johnson said, “where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled.  Where no man who wants work will fail to find it.  Where no citizen will be barred from any door because of his birthplace or his color or his church.  Where peace and security is common among neighbors and possible among nations.”  “This is the world that waits for you,” he said.  “Reach out for it now.  Join the fight to finish the unfinished work.”  To finish the unfinished work.

America has made stunning progress since that time, over the past 50 years — even over the past five years.  But it is the unfinished work that drives us forward.

Some of our unfinished work lies beyond our borders.  America is leading the effort to rally the world against Russian aggression in Ukraine.  America is leading the fight to contain and combat Ebola in Africa.  America is building and leading the coalition that will degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.  As Americans, we are leading, and we don’t shy away from these responsibilities; we welcome them.  (Applause.)  That’s what America does.  And we are grateful to the men and women in uniform who put themselves in harm’s way in service of the country that we all love.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got unfinished work overseas, but we’ve got some unfinished work right here at home.  (Applause.)  After the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our businesses have now created 10 million new jobs over the last 54 months.  This is the longest uninterrupted stretch of job growth in our history.  (Applause.)  In our history.  But we understand our work is not done until we get the kind of job creation that means everybody who wants work can a find job.

We’ve done some work on health care, too.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve seen a 26 percent decline in the uninsured rate in America.  (Applause.)  African Americans have seen a 30 percent decline.  And, by the way, the cost of health care isn’t going up as fast anymore either.  Everybody was predicting this was all going to be so expensive.  We’ve saved $800 billion — (applause) — in Medicare because of the work that we’ve done — slowing the cost, improving quality, and improving access.  Despite unyielding opposition, this change has happened just in the last couple years.

But we know our work is not yet done until we get into more communities, help more uninsured folks get covered, especially in those states where the governors aren’t being quite as cooperative as we’d like them to be.  (Applause.)  You know who you are.  It always puzzles me when you decide to take a stand to make sure poor folks in your state can’t get health insurance even though it doesn’t cost you a dime.  That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I won’t go on on that topic.  (Applause.)  We’ve got more work to do.

It’s easy to take a stand when you’ve got health insurance.  (Laughter and applause.)  I’m going off script now, but — (laughter) — that’s what happens at the CBC.

Our high school graduation rate is at a record high, the dropout rate is falling, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.  Last year, the number of children living in poverty fell by 1.4 million — the largest decline since 1966.  (Applause.)  Since I took office, the overall crime rate and the overall incarceration rate has gone down by about 10 percent.  That’s the first time they’ve declined at the same time in more than 40 years.  Fewer folks in jail.  Crime still going down.  (Applause.)

But our work is not done when too many children live in crumbling neighborhoods, cycling through substandard schools, traumatized by daily violence.  Our work is not done when working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar; when African-American unemployment is still twice as high as white unemployment; when income inequality, on the rise for decades, continues to hold back hardworking communities, especially communities of color.  We’ve got unfinished work.  And we know what to do.  That’s the worst part — we know what to do.

We know we’ve got to invest in infrastructure, and manufacturing, and research and development that creates new jobs.  We’ve got to keep rebuilding a middle class economy with ladders of opportunity, so that hard work pays off and you see higher wages and higher incomes, and fair pay for women doing the same work as men, and workplace flexibility for parents in case a child gets sick or a parent needs some help.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to build more Promise Zones partnerships to support local revitalization of hard-hit communities.  We’ve got to keep investing in early education.  We want to bring preschool to every four-year-old in this country.  (Applause.)  And we want every child to have an excellent teacher.  And we want to invest in our community colleges and expand Pell Grants for more students.  And I’m going to keep working with you to make college more affordable.  Because every child in America, no matter who she is, no matter where she’s born, no matter how much money her parents have, ought to be able to fulfill her God-given potential.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

So I just want everybody to understand — we have made enormous progress.  There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not better off than when I took office.  (Applause.)  Unemployment down.  Deficits down.  Uninsured down.  Poverty down.  Energy production up.  Manufacturing back.  Auto industry back.  But — and I just list these things just so if you have a discussion with one of your friends — (laughter) — and they’re confused.  Stock market up.  Corporate balance sheet strong.  In fact, the folks who are doing the best, they’re the ones who complain the most.  (Laughter and applause.)  So you can just point these things out.

But we still have to close these opportunity gaps.  And we have to close the justice gap — how justice is applied, but also how it is perceived, how it is experienced.  (Applause.)  Eric Holder understands this.  (Applause.)  That’s what we saw in Ferguson this summer, when Michael Brown was killed and a community was divided.  We know that the unrest continues.   And Eric spent some time with the residents and police of Ferguson, and the Department of Justice has indicated that its civil rights investigation is ongoing.

Now, I won’t comment on the investigation.  I know that Michael’s family is here tonight.  (Applause.)  I know that nothing any of us can say can ease the grief of losing a child so soon.  But the anger and the emotion that followed his death awakened our nation once again to the reality that people in this room have long understood, which is, in too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement.

Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement, guilty of walking while black, or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness.  We know that, statistically, in everything from enforcing drug policy to applying the death penalty to pulling people over, there are significant racial disparities.  That’s just the statistics.  One recent poll showed that the majority of Americans think the criminal justice system doesn’t treat people of all races equally.  Think about that.  That’s not just blacks, not just Latinos or Asians or Native Americans saying things may not be unfair.  That’s most Americans.

And that has a corrosive effect — not just on the black community; it has a corrosive effect on America.  It harms the communities that need law enforcement the most.  It makes folks who are victimized by crime and need strong policing reluctant to go to the police because they may not trust them.  And the worst part of it is it scars the hearts of our children.  It scars the hearts of the white kids who grow unnecessarily fearful of somebody who doesn’t look like them.  It stains the heart of black children who feel as if no matter what he does, he will always be under suspicion.  That is not the society we want.  It’s not the society that our children deserve.  (Applause.)  Whether you’re black or white, you don’t want that for America.

It was interesting — Ferguson was used by some of America’s enemies and critics to deflect attention from their shortcomings overseas; to undermine our efforts to promote justice around the world.  They said, well, look at what’s happened to you back home.

But as I said this week at the United Nations, America is special not because we’re perfect; America is special because we work to address our problems, to make our union more perfect.  We fight for more justice.  (Applause.)  We fight to cure what ails us.  We fight for our ideals, and we’re willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short.  And we address our differences in the open space of democracy — with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and religion; and with an unyielding belief that people who love their country can change it.  That’s what makes us special — not because we don’t have problems, but because we work to fix them.  And we will continue to work to fix this.

And to that end, we need to help communities and law enforcement build trust, build understanding, so that our neighborhoods stay safe and our young people stay on track.  And under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has launched a national effort to do just that.  He’s also been working to make the criminal justice system smarter and more effective by addressing unfair sentencing disparities, changing department policies on charging mandatory minimums, promoting stronger reentry programs for those who have paid their debt to society.  (Applause.)

And we need to address the unique challenges that make it hard for some of our young people to thrive.  For all the success stories that exist in a room like this one, we all know relatives, classmates, neighbors who were just as smart as we were, just as capable as we were, born with the same light behind their eyes, the same joy, the same curiosity about the world — but somehow they didn’t get the support they needed, or the encouragement they needed, or they made a mistake, or they missed an opportunity; they weren’t able to overcome the obstacles that they faced.

And so, in February, we launched My Brother’s Keeper.  (Applause.)  And I was the first one to acknowledge government can’t play the only, or even the primary, role in the lives of our children.  But what we can do is bring folks together, and that’s what we’re doing — philanthropies, business leaders, entrepreneurs, faith leaders, mayors, educators, athletes, and the youth themselves — to examine how can we ensure that our young men have the tools they need to achieve their full potential.

And next week, I’m launching My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, asking every community in the country — big cities and small towns, rural counties, tribal nations — to publicly commit to implementing strategies that will ensure all young people can succeed, starting from the cradle, all the way to college and a career.  It’s a challenge to local leaders to follow the evidence and use the resources on what works for our kids.  And we’ve already got 100 mayors, county officials, tribal leaders, Democrats, Republicans signed on.  And we’re going to keep on signing them up in the coming weeks and months.  (Applause.)  But they’re going to need you — elected leaders, business leaders, community leaders — to make this effort successful.  We need all of us to come together to help all of our young people address the variety of challenges they face.

And we’re not forgetting about the girls, by the way.  I got two daughters — I don’t know if you noticed.  (Laughter.)  African American girls are more likely than their white peers also to be suspended, incarcerated, physically harassed.  Black women struggle every day with biases that perpetuate oppressive standards for how they’re supposed to look and how they’re supposed to act.  Too often, they’re either left under the hard light of scrutiny, or cloaked in a kind of invisibility.

So in addition to the new efforts on My Brother’s Keeper, the White House Council for Women and Girls has for years been working on issues affecting women and girls of color, from violence against women, to pay equity, to access to health care.  And you know Michelle has been working on that.  (Applause.)  Because she doesn’t think our daughters should be treated differently than anybody else’s son.  I’ve got a vested interest in making sure that our daughters have the same opportunities as boys do.  (Applause.)

So that’s the world we’ve got to reach for — the world where every single one of our children has the opportunity to pursue their measure of happiness.  That’s our unfinished work.  And we’re going to have to fight for it.  We’ve got to stand up for it.  And we have to vote for it.  We have to vote for it.  (Applause.)

All around the country, wherever I see folks, they always say, oh, Barack, we’re praying for you — boy, you’re so great; look, you got all gray hair, you looking tired.  (Laughter.)  We’re praying for you.  Which I appreciate.  (Laughter.)  But I tell them, after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he immediately moved on to what he called “the meat in the coconut” — a voting rights act bill.  And some of his administration argued that’s too much, it’s too soon.  But the movement knew that if we rested after the Civil Rights Act, then all we could do was pray that somebody would enforce those rights.   (Applause.)

So whenever I hear somebody say they’re praying for me, I say “thank you.”  Thank you — I believe in the power of prayer.  But we know more than prayer.  We need to vote.  (Applause.)  We need to vote.  That will be helpful.  It will not relieve me of my gray hair, but it will help me pass some bills.  (Laughter.)

Because people refused to give in when it was hard, we get to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act next year.  Until then, we’ve got to protect it.  We can’t just celebrate it; we’ve got to protect it.  Because there are people still trying to pass voter ID laws to make it harder for folks to vote.  And we’ve got to get back to our schools and our offices and our churches, our beauty shops, barber shops, and make sure folks know there’s an election coming up, they need to know how to register, and they need to know how and when to vote.

We’ve got to tell them to push back against the cynics; prove everybody wrong who says that change isn’t possible.  Cynicism does not fix anything.  Cynicism is very popular in America sometimes.  It’s propagated in the media.  But cynicism didn’t put anybody on the moon.  Cynicism didn’t pass the Voting Rights Act.  Hope is what packed buses full of freedom riders. Hope is what led thousands of black folks and white folks to march from Selma to Montgomery.  Hope is what got John Lewis off his back after being beaten within an inch of his life, and chose to keep on going.  (Applause.)

Cynicism is a choice, but hope is a better choice.  And our job right now is to convince the people who are privileged to represent to join us in finishing that fight that folks like John started.  Get those souls to the polls.  Exercise their right to vote.  And if we do, then I guarantee you we’ve got a brighter future ahead.

Thank you, God bless you.  Keep praying.  But go out there and vote.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END                9:29 P.M. EDT