December 3, 2014

Umoja Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event


Chicago IL - On December 3, 2014 Umoja Student Development Corporation (Umoja) and our Chief Executive Officer, Ted Christians, will join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

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

Umoja believes all students should be prepared for postsecondary success and joins this initiative by committing to increase the number of students reached by our work from 500 to 1,000and train an additional 200 teachers and counselors over the next two years. We also commit to developing our comprehensive postsecondary Seminar curriculum and model as an example for schools locally and nationally.

“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in making sure all students have equal access to the essential skills and tools for postsecondary success. We are particularly excited to bring our 17 years of experience partnering with the most under-resourced students and schools in the country to this important national conversation.” said Ted Christians, Umoja’s Chief Executive Officer.

Participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 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. 

The President will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.

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.  Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile.