Howard University Answers White House Call to Action on College Opportunity


As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase college opportunity, Howard University has answered the call to make new commitments to increase college opportunity. Led by Interim President Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard University will expand opportunities for select low-income students in the STEM fields. Dr. Frederick joined President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other higher education leaders at the White House to discuss ways to increase college opportunity for low-income and underrepresented students.

“Developing a pipeline of students in STEM is in the national interest,” Dr. Frederick said. “We are proud of the new initiative and the Center for Academic Excellence’s role in guiding the success of this important commitment.”

Beginning Fall 2014, Howard University will launch a program within its new Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) that will specifically focus on success of selected low-income students in the STEM fields. The goals are two-prong: to increase the retention and graduation rate of low-income STEM students and to improve the rate and cadre of low-income minority students entering graduate/professional programs and/or the workforce.

These programs will include academic, co-curricular and financial literacy modules designed to provide participants with experiences to enrich their degree program. Students will engage in STEM research and partner with faculty and graduate student mentors. The CAE will also be responsible for assisting each student with identifying intern/externship opportunities and job placement.

Today, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made a call to action, asking colleges and universities, nonprofits, foundations, businesses, state officials and other leaders to make new commitments to increase college opportunity.

“This partnership with the White House aligns well with Howard’s mission and commitment to providing access to an education to students not withstanding their ability to pay,” Dr. Frederick added.

Currently, Howard provides a 100 percent match to the Federal Pell Grant for students who have a zero Expected Family Contribution based on FAFSA data.The program has provided more than $33 million in need-based grant assistance since its inception in 2008-2009. On average, 1,700 students benefit from need-based institutional aid each year. Nearly 60 percent of the University’s undergraduate population are Federal Pell Grant-Eligible. The University maintains a ‘need-blind’ admission policy and targets low-income students with high academic potential, particularly in low-income areas.

Howard has a number of STEM pipeline programs including a Middle School of Mathematics and Science housed on the University’s main campus. Founded in 2005,(MS)2 accepts students from all eight wards in the District of Columbia. Approximately 70 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. Its first class entered college in 2012. More than 90 percent are enrolled in colleges and universities. The second class who entered college in Fall 2013, 50 percent are pursuing majors in the STEM fields.


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