HISD announces commitment to expand college access at White House event

Houston ISD EMERGE students visit Boston College, June 4, 2014. (Dave Einsel / Houston ISD)

Houston ISD EMERGE students visit Boston College, June 4, 2014. (Dave Einsel / Houston ISD)

HISD College Readiness Assistant Superintendent Rick Cruz will join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders Thursday to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action serves to strengthen the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country as they help the U.S. reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment. The event is being held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

As part of the White House College Opportunity Day of Action, HISD has pledged to:

  • Expand the HISD EMERGE program by offering it at additional high schools in an effort to increase the number of low-income students accepted to the nation’s top colleges.
  • Recruit more college advisors and provide them with necessary tools and information.
  • Match each college advisor with a college readiness specialist who will provide additional support and guidance.
  • Expand partnerships with universities and outside organizations.
  • Strengthen and expand financial aid advising, support, and accessibility.
  • Increase completion rates on FAFSA, the federal financial aid application that’s widely used by colleges and universities, as well as organizations that award scholarships and grants.

“HISD is extremely honored and excited to participate in the White House College Opportunity Day of Action,” said Dr. Terry Grier, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. “This is a reflection of the great strides the district has made in preparing students for post-secondary success and our commitment to providing students with even greater opportunities.”

Thursday’s 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.