Cal State San Bernardino Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley) – Cal State San Bernardino and President Tomás D. Morales joined President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders today, Thursday, Dec. 4, to announce new initiatives to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support President Obama’s commitment to work with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to assist students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

As part of Obama’s call to action, Cal State San Bernardino is committed to:

·      Increasing the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health– the STEM+H fields – from its College of Natural Sciences by 25 percent in five years;

·      Creating a course redesign institute for 12 STEM faculty members each year for three years; and

·      Integrating into the two-year orientation of new faculty members teaching practices most likely to foster students’ deep learning of difficult concepts in subjects that include biology, chemistry and physics.

“It is essential that we find and implement the most effective teaching practices to help our students succeed in STEM-related fields and efficiently advance towards degree completion,” Morales said. “Our goal is to create a culture of evidence-based teaching in a diverse environment that nurtures deep learning in students, and provides sustained faculty development opportunities.”

Cal State San Bernardino is also working in collaboration several other Hispanic-Serving Institutions –

Cal State Fullerton, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Miami Dade College – to boost the number of college graduates by increasing both the overall six-year graduation rate and the number of transfer students who graduate from a university, and reducing at least by half the current achievement gap between underrepresented and non-underrepresented students on campus.

The conference participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion; creating kindergarten-to-through college graduates 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.

Obama will announce new steps on how his administration is helping to support these actions, including $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.  The conference 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 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. Currently, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income groups attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top income groups. 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.

For more information, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit http://news.csusb.edu.

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