WASHINGTON – Troy Simon grew up poor in New Orleans. He couldn’t read until he was 14. But with a little help,he’s now a student at Bard College in New York – and got to introduce Michelle Obama at the White House on Thursday.“We’ve set a goal of training 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next 10 years,and the private sector has already committed to help train 40,000,” Obama said. “Today,the high school dropout rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years – something that’s rarely advertised.”
Low-income high school graduates still face disadvantages during the college application process because they lack standardized test preparation,advanced placement opportunities and counseling.
Obama cited several universities that have taken steps to help underprivileged students – including adults who missed out the first time around – pursue higher education.
The University of Minnesota is expanding financial literacy programs. Oregon Tech is strengthening communication between advisers and students who need encouragement and support. A program in the South Bronx,called iMentor,will match 20,000 students with mentors in more than 20 states over the next five years.
The Obama administration has doubled the amount of federal investments in Pell Grants and college tax credits and reformed the student loan program to lower interest rates.
Reach reporter Gavin Stern at [email protected] or 202-408-2735. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. SHFWire reporter Alejandro Alba also contributed to this story.