GGC commits to expand college access at White House event

Stas Preczewski

GGC President Stanley C. "Stas" Preczewski 

Today, Georgia Gwinnett College President Stas Preczewski will join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden, along with college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.  
 
The White House College Opportunity Day of Action supports President Obama’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.   
 
Today’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.
 
Georgia Gwinnett College has made a commitment in the area of increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  The commitment involves five primary goals with a target date of 2020.  They include: 
  • Increasing STEM enrollment by 25 percent
  • Increasing STEM retention by five percent
  • Increasing STEM graduates by 50 percent 
  • STEM enrollment of underrepresented populations be at or above STEM enrollment for adequately represented populations
  • STEM retention of underrepresented populations be at or above STEM retention for adequately represented populations. 
“Georgia Gwinnett College’s STEM Initiative is an outgrowth of the college’s overall commitment to student-centered teaching that engages students and promotes their success,” said Preczewski. “GGC is an innovative model for 21st Century higher education and an access institution that was built from the ground up for individual student success – no matter the level of academic preparation, learning style, work schedule or financial barrier. Our model is a perfect fit for this initiative that has the ability to transform education as we now know it.”  
 
President Obama will announce new steps on how his administration is helping 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. Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first event, held on Jan. 14, 2014. 
 
Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. 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. 
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