EAST GREENSBORO, NC (August 12, 2022) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. is among the leaders who participated in Raise the BAR: Bold+ U.S. Department of Education’s Action + Results in College Excellence & Equity Summit, where Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the availability of $5 million to support a new College Completion Fund for the post-secondary student success.
The funding will support grants to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) such as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) — many of which are colleges communities – to invest in data-driven, evidence-based reforms that encourage post-secondary persistence, transfer and completion. Institutions are specifically urged to focus on supporting existing students who are about to graduate and re-engage students who have temporarily dropped out of school during the pandemic.
More than 40 colleges and universities were represented at the one-day summit in Washington, DC, where Martin shared NC A&T’s perspective on reinventing higher education. Leaders at the event, including White House officials, discussed opportunities to improve inclusiveness, equity, and excellence—rather than exclusivity and privilege—in our education system higher education and shared their experiences in reforming higher education to promote stronger outcomes, especially for their students of color and low-income students.
“When we examine North Carolina A&T’s particular impact as a doctoral research university, we find that its Fall 2020 entering class included more Black students than UNC-Chapel Hill, Cornell, the University of Virginia and Southern Cal combined. These are the top four national universities in the country, all of which are predominantly white institutions, as a proportion of black students in their entering class,” Martin said. “Because we are increasing enrollment even as we increase graduation rates, we are now producing more black graduates in engineering, agriculture, journalism and liberal studies than any university in the country. And because our university has pronounced strengths in STEM disciplines, we make significant contributions beyond our size to the diversity of the STEM workforce to the nation’s critical needs.
Additionally, the department announced plans to extend its Project Success initiative, which was set to expire next month, for an additional three years. Through Project Success, more than 200 HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, including HSIs, have access to resources and support services to help improve student outcomes. The extension announced today will allow the ministry to continue the initiative and increase its focus on evidence-based strategies, including through capacity-building networks focused on improving student success .
“For too long, our higher education system has left our nation’s most accessible and inclusive colleges without adequate resources to support student success, while many institutions seek rankings that reward privilege and selectivity. rather than equity and upward mobility,” Cardona said. “Reinventing higher education means rejecting a status quo in which so many students get college credit but no degree, leaving them with student debt they can’t afford and less access to jobs. (This) summit demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s belief that investments in college completion can improve our entire higher education system and help more students from communities of color and other low-income and underserved communities to travel until back-to-school day.
Funding provided through the College Completion Fund for Post-Secondary Student Success is the latest step in the department’s ongoing commitment to student success, especially students of color and low-income students. The Department continued to improve and provide high-quality information on student outcomes through the College Scorecard, improving student choice in higher education.
The US Department of Education continues to build inclusive institutions and has offered billions of dollars in new funding for HBCUs, TCUs, MSIs, and community colleges. It is also working to promote innovation at colleges and universities nationwide, including asking Congress for $110 million for the coming fiscal year to support additional retention and completion grants.