Raise the B.A.R. Bold + Action + Results in College Excellence and Equity

Good afternoon, everybody! To all the faculty presidents and leaders right here right this moment: thanks for coming. It is even worse whenever you lose your baggage or have cancellations, which I do know lots of you probably did.  

Touring to Washington within the remaining weeks of summer season is a giant ask. A few of you even canceled holidays to be right here. If you happen to want an apology be aware to your partner, let me know. 

I strongly felt this summit – on elevating the bar for fairness and inclusive pupil success – deserved greater than a Zoom name.  

You’re the leaders reimagining and redefining what excellence in greater training means. The strides you make belong within the nationwide highlight! And there isn’t any higher proof than the unbelievable college students right here right this moment. 

I do know the previous two-and-a-half years have been robust. You serve the communities the pandemic hit hardest: our communities of shade and low-income city and rural communities.  

But, with the assistance of the American Rescue Plan, you stepped up like by no means earlier than. You discovered new methods to maintain college students afloat financially, on monitor academically, and supported socially and emotionally.  

Let’s be trustworthy. The pandemic might have turned greater training the other way up – however the system was by no means utterly right-side-up.  

Our group faculties, HBCUs, HSIs, state and tribal faculties, and different inclusive establishments serve greater than three-quarters of undergrads nationwide.  

But years of underinvestment, state price range cuts, and lagging federal assist for Pell Grants have shifted prices to college students … and left you chronically underfunded. We see you!  

It is a merciless irony: the establishments that serve probably the most college students, with probably the most to realize from a school diploma, have the fewest sources to spend money on pupil success. 

You already know this, and it is heartbreaking: Sixty p.c of Black undergrads and almost half of Latino undergrads by no means make it to commencement day. Think about the potential that’s misplaced on this nation resulting from the truth that this has change into normalized in America. 

Yearly, thousands and thousands of scholars wind up in what I name “postsecondary purgatory.”  

They earn some credit, however no diploma. Then they’ve pupil debt they can’t afford and a restricted path to higher-paying jobs.  

In the meantime, many establishments spend monumental money and time chasing rankings they really feel carry status, however in reality, “do little greater than ‘xerox privilege,'” as one HBCU president says. 

There’s a complete science behind climbing the rankings. It goes like this: compete for probably the most prosperous college students by luring them with beneficiant support, as a result of probably the most well-prepared college students have the most effective SAT scores and graduate on time; search favor along with your friends from different elite colleges with costly dinners and lavish occasions, as a result of their opinions carry clout in surveys; and spend money on probably the most superb campus experiences that cash can purchase, as a result of the extra graduates who change into donors, the extra factors you rating! 

Too usually, our best-resourced colleges are chasing rankings that imply little on measures that actually depend: faculty completion, financial mobility, narrowing gaps in entry to alternative for ALL People. That system of rating is a joke! 

In case I’ve not been clear but, enable me to restate it.  

We’d like a tradition change in greater training, NOW! 

We should cease conflating selectivity with excellence. We should cease correlating status with privilege. We should embrace a brand new imaginative and prescient of school excellence. And also you, on this room, are bringing that into focus.  

You are constructing welcoming, inclusive cultures. You are utilizing knowledge to assist college students get assist earlier than they drop out. You are creating accessible pathways for underrepresented college students, grownup learners, rural college students, and first-generation faculty college students, like me. You already know what it takes to ship inclusive pupil success. 

The Biden-Harris administration believes that daring investments in faculty completion can stage up our complete system of upper training. We’d like extra knowledge on what works to make the case – and an effort I am happy to announce begins right this moment.  

Earlier this 12 months, we secured $5 million from Congress for a brand new faculty completion fund. These grants will assist extra underserved establishments spend money on retention, completion, and inclusive pupil success.  

I am additionally happy to announce the renewal of Undertaking Success for one more three years. This program helps HBCUs, tribal faculties, and different minority-serving establishments spend money on evidence-based methods for enhancing pupil outcomes. 

And I am thrilled we’re gaining a champion for these efforts on the Division. Dr. Nasser Paydar is our new assistant secretary for postsecondary training!  

As the previous Chancellor of Indiana College–Purdue College Indianapolis, he has a profound understanding of the urgency we should deliver to this work and the challenges you face each day within the subject. 

I additionally need to acknowledge Beneath Secretary James Kvaal. James has crisscrossed this nation listening to greater training leaders and college students with a purpose to form the next training agenda that actually serves college students and delivers fairness. Thanks, James! 

Thanks additionally to Dr. Michelle Cooper for her exceptional service as appearing assistant secretary. Her management made right this moment’s summit attainable! Michelle has been a voice for fairness and entry in greater training and the nation is best for it.   

On this divided nation, there isn’t any power extra unifying than training. But training can’t heal our communities or unify our nation if increasingly college students are left behind.  

When individuals can’t get forward, it not solely perpetuates inequities and hurts our financial competitiveness … it additionally undermines religion within the system and sows mistrust and division. It is unAmerican. 

Collectively, let’s construct the next training system that serves the next function, one which ranges the taking part in subject in a rustic that may greatest be described by the phrase, “potentialities,” as President Biden all the time says.   

Let’s confer status on the universities breaking cycles of poverty. 

Let’s increase the profiles of establishments delivering actual upward mobility, such as you all. 

Let’s flip the colleges that stroll the stroll on fairness into family names. 

Along with your assist, we cannot simply increase the bar. We’ll redefine excellence.  

We’ll write a brand new playbook for inclusive pupil success.  

And we are going to empower extra establishments to observe your daring, brave, and student-centered lead. 

Immediately, as we have fun you … we now have a message for the upper training group: Collectively, LET’S RAISE THE BAR! 


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