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Championing Completion: Improving College Outcomes for Pell Students

Dr. John Smarrelli, President of Christian Brothers University, Participates in Meeting with U.S. Department of Education Officials on Increasing Access and Supporting Strong Outcomes for Low-Income Students 

On March 24, 2016,  President John Smarrelli attended a meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Education focused on highlighting institutions across the country that are making significant strides in increasing graduation rates among Pell-eligible students. “For students from low- and moderate-income families, a college degree is the surest path to the middle class in our country. I applaud the colleges and universities that have taken measurable steps to open up this pathway and make it a successful one for students from all backgrounds. But we need these types of efforts to become the rule and not the exception,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.

Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has worked to ensure more Americans have the opportunity to get a quality, affordable higher education, with promising results—more students are graduating college than ever before.  But many American families still feel that college may be out of reach.  Colleges and universities have a responsibility to expand access to all students and offer targeted supports for low-income students. The report is also a call to action for institutions with significant gaps between completion rates for Pell recipients and overall completion rates, as well as institutions that have positive outcomes but enroll too few low-income students. Using data available in the College Scorecard, and incorporating the findings of analyses by outside organizations focused on student success, this report focuses mostly on four-year colleges.

Dr. Smarrelli has long been a passionate advocate for creating pathways to higher education for low-income students. Informed by the Lasallian educational tradition, a pillar of which is the commitment to serving the underserved, CBU's faculty invest their time in fostering the growth of our students as whole persons, preparing them for life, work, and service to society. Under Dr. Smarrelli’s leadership, CBU is partnering with Memphis educational institutions and the non-profit and business communities, especially in the STEM and healthcare industries, to create opportunities for all students, including low-income students, to attain secondary education.

"For us to thrive as a diverse democracy and for individuals to achieve their dreams of success, higher education must fulfill its promise of providing opportunity to all students, regardless of their race, gender, or income level. That opportunity means access, but getting into college is not enough. It’s getting in and getting through that matters. There are remarkable institutions around the country succeeding at making access and success a reality for low income students. We need to learn from their leadership and spread the word about practices that work," said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell.

“We recognize the hard work that many institutions, including CBU, have undertaken toward this goal,” said Under Secretary Mitchell. The Department held a conference, Championing Completion: Improving College Outcomes for Pell Students, on Thursday with college presidents, trustees and campus leaders from across the nation to discuss ongoing work of leaders who are driving the public narrative and attaining meaningful results to ensure that more students, especially low-income students, complete an affordable, high-quality degree. The event spotlighted the promising and proven practices developed by these institutions to advance success for low-income students, and encourage broader conversations among the field to accelerate this work.

 For more information, contact:Wendy Sumner-Winter, Senior DirectorChristian Brothers University, Office of Communicationswsumnerw@cbu.edu901.545.9813

Posted by Wendy Sumner-Winter at 10:34 AM