Organizations Pledge To Strengthen Pipeline To Higher Ed

By Katy Hopkins, Communications Staff 

Hundreds of organizations, including NASFAA, made commitments to help expand college access and success in accordance with the White House College Opportunity Day of Action on Thursday.

The event featured a political star-studded lineup of speakers including President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden, who called for more attention to college counseling, financial aid literacy, and graduation rates, among other education issues. 

“Plenty of kids have no idea that they’re eligible for financial aid so they assume they just can’t afford college and they don’t even bother to apply,” Mrs. Obama said. 

That’s a big problem in today’s economy, where education beyond high school is often necessary to land a well-paying job. Unlike several decades ago, when the top quarter or half of a school’s students might attend college, higher education is now a necessity for everyone, Mrs. Obama said. 

“We need a college counseling system that reflects this new reality,” she added.

One of NASFAA’s commitments to the College Opportunity Day of Action campaign aims to strengthen college counseling by more widely offering our Financial Aid Night Toolkit materials and expanding the Speaker & Mentor Professional Directory. 

“Understanding true college costs is critical to attaining and succeeding in higher education,” NASFAA’s President Justin Draeger said in a press release Thursday. “By arming high school counselors with financial aid information and delivering college cost information earlier to families, we can help all students to ‘Reach Higher’ and earn their degrees.”  

Other organizations and institutions have also committed to helping high school students apply to college and for financial aid, among other efforts, President Obama said. And about 2,000 colleges will now waive application fees for low-income students, he said.

Increasing access and completion is a bipartisan concern, the president noted. 

“This should not be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue,” President Obama said. “Making sure more of our young people have access to higher education and can succeed, complete their work, and get a degree – that has to be an American issue.”


Publication Date: 12/5/2014

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