Today, Walla Walla Community College President Steven VanAusdle will join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of 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 helps to support the President’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.
Walla Walla Community College’s vision is that all students will have the opportunity to succeed. Their expectation is that at least seventy percent of all students pursuing a degree or credential will succeed and then pursue a higher level of educational attainment or secure meaningful employment. Regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, social or economic background, all students will have a shot at the American Dream. WWCC’s mission statement: “WWCC inspires all students to discover their potential and achieve their goals by providing relevant, equitable, and innovative learning opportunities and service” further focuses on student success regardless of the barriers. Aligned with the mission and vision, the college has developed several strategic initiatives that have resulted in data-informed practices.
Walla Walla Community College’s President, Dr. Steven VanAusdle, said, “I am honored to join other two and four year college presidents and industry partners as we commit to achieving higher levels of educational attainment, which are key to economic prosperity and strengthening our democracy.”
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.
The President 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 day of action on January 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 9 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.