THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary

FACT SHEET: Opportunity for All: Promoting College Opportunity and Graduation
Today at an event with the First Lady at Coral Reef High School in Miami, President Obama will lay out additional details of his plan to equip all Americans with the education and skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy and launch a new FAFSA Completion Initiative to give more Americans the opportunity to afford, attend, and graduate from college.
The President’s budget, released earlier this week, includes investments and initiatives to expand opportunity for all Americans by improving education at every level, from early childhood through college. But the President has also been clear that while he wants to work with Congress wherever they are willing, he is also going to make 2014 a year of action and won’t hesitate to take steps on his own wherever he can.
That’s why today President Obama will announce the launch of a new FAFSA Completion Initiative, led by the Department of Education, to help ensure that more of America’s students take the first step towards college success: completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Today’s announcement includes new tools and resources to enable states, districts, and high schools to better support students to complete this critical form in a timely fashion:
·         The Department of Education will partner with states so they can identify individual students who have not completed the FAFSA. States can then use this limited, yet valuable, information to support school and district efforts to increase FAFSA completion beginning in the 2014-15 school year. These efforts build on the success of a pilot project launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 working directly with about 100 school districts.
·         The Office of Federal Student Aid has also updated the existing FAFSA completion tool with new, overall FAFSA completion numbers for the high school graduating class of 2014, and is expanding that tool to include more than 25,000 high schools nationwide. The completion tool is targeted at school and district leaders, but also allows anyone with web access to track the overall number of FAFSA forms completed by students at particular schools, in order to effectively provide outreach and resources as well as support community efforts to increase FAFSA completion. 
Building on Success
Filing the FAFSA is required in order for students to receive access to Title IV student aid programs, like the Federal Pell Grant and Federal student loans. It also is used by states, colleges, and universities in awarding other state-based or institution-based aid. Nonetheless, millions do not file a FAFSA each year, and many who do not may be eligible for federal student aid.
In order to ensure that the FAFSA is not a barrier to college access for students, President Obama took steps early in his Administration to simplify the FAFSA, including revamping the online form to skip questions that are irrelevant to individual students and to allow students and parents to answer many questions with pre-existing data from the Internal Revenue Service. These efforts have contributed to 33% increase in the number of FAFSA forms filed over the course of the Administration, growing from 16.4 million in 2008-2009 to 21.8 million in 2012-13.
Increasing FAFSA completion is just one of the critical efforts the Administration is taking to help prepare America’s students for college and for successful careers.  In Miami, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district has leveraged federal support through critical initiatives like Race to the Top, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and the School Improvement Grant program to implement reforms that have helped Miami make significant strides to close achievement gaps and address inequities, promote digital learning, and strengthen pathways to college and careers.
Making Investments in America’s Future
The President has set a goal for the country that, by the end of this decade, America will once again lead the world in college graduation. The President’s budget includes critical investments to strengthen educational opportunity from early childhood and preschool, all the way through college and career placement. Beyond the investments in the base budget described below, the fully paid-for Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative included in the President’s budget would provide additional funding for Race to the Top, High School Redesign, and ConnectEDucators. 
·         Race to the Top: The President’s budget provides $300 million for a new Race to the Top:  Equity and Opportunity competition, incentivizing states and school districts to undertake comprehensive efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps by attracting and retaining effective teachers and leaders, enhancing student supports, increasing access to rigorous coursework, and leveraging data to improve outcomes for students.  RTT–Opportunity would reinforce the existing Race to the Top program that has spurred reform and systemic change in states and districts across the country, including in Miami-Dade.  Miami-Dade is a recipient of a $32 million Race to the Top-District grant to personalize learning and change instruction in the district’s middle schools.
·         High School Redesign: President Obama has called on Congress to invest $150 million in a new vision of high school learning where coursework is tied to real-world experiences. Students in redesigned high schools pursue rigorous academic curricula through project-based learning, career-related experiences, and innovative uses of learning time. At Coral Reef High School, each student chooses one of five academies based around the themes of Health Sciences, Agricultural Science & Engineering, Legal & Public Affairs, Visual and Performing Arts, and the International Baccalaureate program.
·         ConnectEDucators: The future of learning is going to be driven by new digital technologies, and will be increasingly interactive and individualized.  To deliver that opportunity to every American child, the President’s FY 15 budget proposes $200 million to help prepare and support teachers as they work to integrate digital learning into their classrooms and lessons.  President Obama has set a goal to connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband in their schools, within five years, and has already inspired over $1 billion in private-sector commitments to schools.  In Miami-Dade, the school has installed high-speed broadband in every one of its schools, consistent with this initiative.
·         College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus: To reward colleges that successfully enroll and graduate a significant number of low- and moderate-income students on time and encourage all institutions to improve their performance, the President’s FY 15 budget includes a new College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program to provide an annual grant to eligible institutions based on their number of on-time graduates that receive Pell Grants, at a total 10-year cost of $7 billion.
·         State Higher Education Performance Fund: To encourage systemic efforts to make higher education more affordable and increase college access and success, particularly for low-income students, the President’s FY 15 budget includes a $4 billion State Higher Education Performance Fund for States to support, reform, and improve the performance of their public higher education systems.  States would receive up to four years of funding, and would match their federal grants, dollar-for-dollar, for a total of $8 billion in four years.

·         First in the World: The President has called on Congress to advance new innovations to help ensure that college is affordable for all students. The FY 15 budget includes $100 million for a First in the World fund that would support innovative strategies and practices that improve college affordability and produce high-quality outcomes for students

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EPA Announcement

ORD recently announced a recruitment action for an SES position in the National Exposure Research Laboratory headquartered in RTP, NC.  I am asking your assistance in forwarding the information to your respective constituents.  Below is the USA Jobs announcement link.  Thanks in advance for your help on this.

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Summer Internships at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


I am sending this to you so that our opportunities can be posted on your websites and be made known to your students. We have many opportunities all year round and our summer session is the largest but most competitive of the year. Please let me know if there is any missing information that you need to get this on your website and/ or bulletin boards. Thank you in advance for promoting our internship opportunities! Summer internship deadline is March 1, 2014.

Contact info for announcements:
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20013
Omar Eaton-Martínez

The following summer internship opportunities for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History should be listed separately on your internship announcement boards.
1.       Archives Center – Interns undertake projects involving preparation of collections for research use and dissemination of collections information through print and electronic media. The project will entail processing—arrangement description, and re-housing materials—as well as cataloging archival collections. (non-paid) à SOLAA Project Choice: Archives Center. Create an account and apply on SOLAA
2.       Archives Center Cope Shaw Archival Internship (graduate students only) – (paid) SOLAA Program Choice: Cope Shaw Archival Internship. Create an account and apply on SOLAA
3.       Associate Director, Management & Museum Services – Interns will support the office responsible for a range of Museum-wide management, support, and services functions. These include personnel, budget and finance, technology, project management, photographic services, and the business program (non-paid) à SOLAA Project Choice: Assoc Director, Management & Museum Services.

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ED Forum Wed., Nov. 6 @ CSU Dominguez Hills (College Value and Affordability Plans)

Announcement from the Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education will hold the first of four open forums on Wednesday, November 6 at California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California to discuss the Administration’s College Affordability and Value Plans. The open forum is free and open to the public.
Because the perspective of our Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) plays an important role in this conversation, we encourage you to present testimony about how the Administration’s plans affect your institution.
If you wish to testify, please register by sending an e-mail at least three days prior to the open forum to with the subject “Open Forum Registration.”  Each participant will be limited to five minutes for comments.  The Department will notify registrants of the location and time slot reserved for them.  An individual may make only one presentation at the open forums.
Please visit here for additional information.
Thank you.
Phillip A. Olaya
Policy Advisor
White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
550 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202
W: (202) 245-6349
C: (202) 725-5585

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Mark Mitsui Named as Deputy Asst. Secretary for Community Colleges at U.S. Dept. of Education

SEATTLE – North Seattle Community College President Mark Mitsui has been selected to serve as deputy assistant secretary for community colleges in the U.S. Department of Education.

Mark Mitsui

Mitsui will take the post on Aug. 12. He will work in the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, which focuses on career, technical, adult and correctional education across the country, with a special emphasis on programs involving community colleges. His role supports President Obama’s, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s and the department’s agenda on community college access and completion.

“While this is a loss for Seattle, it is also a vote of confidence in the quality of leadership in our colleges and our city.” said Seattle Community Colleges Chancellor Jill Wakefield, who named Mitsui to the North presidency in July 2010. “In a short time, Mark Mitsui enhanced long-standing programs and developed new ones that have earned North a reputation as one of the stellar colleges in our state,”

During his tenure as president, Mitsui had linked the college with a number of national and international activities. The college hosted a 2011 White House Initiative on Asian Pacific Islanders NW Regional Conference on Sustainability, which was attended by more than 400 regional and national participants. The conference was co-hosted by Hyeok Kim, a commissioner for the White House Initiative on Asian Pacific Islanders, and by the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

Mitsui was one of a small group of delegates from across the country selected to participate in the 2012 Japanese American Leadership Delegation sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which toured the tsunami-stricken Tohoku region.

“Mark Mitsui’s appointment is a step forward in representing Asian Americans as the fastest-growing population group in the higher education field,” the JACL said in a statement. “We hope to see more diversity in future appointments.”

Mitsui has special expertise in college programs leading to student success and economic development. As vice president at South Seattle Community College, he headed a team that secured a $2.4 million Department of Education grant, earning designation for the college as one of the first six members of a national select group of Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander-serving institutions.

He was chosen to serve as board chair of the national Asian American Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities (APIACU), which is dedicated to improving the quality of post-secondary educational opportunities and access for low-income, under-represented Asian American Pacific Islander students.

At North, Mitsui oversaw the completion and opening of the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education, which combines state services for employment, social services, financial counseling, basic skills and further education in a one-stop campus location. The center is among a handful in the country, served more than 50,000 individuals last year, and was recognized with an Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The college also initiated a customized training department that connects the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Job Skills Program with local industries, and has been recognized for improving sales and increasing jobs. North’s Nanotechnology program was recently designated a Regional Center for Nanotechnology with a $3 million National Science Foundation grant and a goal of expanding the diversity and number of trained nanotechnologists in the Northwest.

North is one of the three Seattle Community Colleges, and works together with other colleges in the district. A transition plan for filling the president’s position is now being developed, said Wakefield.

The district is the second-largest higher education institution in the state, serving nearly 50,000 students every year at Seattle Central, North Seattle and South Seattle Community Colleges; Seattle Vocational Institute; and four specialized training centers across the city.

Mitsui has a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and master’s in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington, where he is a doctoral student in the same field.

He served as assistant dean of student services at Green River Community College, where he led the college’s first diversity training process and was recognized with the International Exemplary Leadership in Higher Education Award. He was the Seattle Community College District’s athletics commissioner for the NWAACC (Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges) and established equitable funding for men’s and women’s teams.

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