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College Track Announces Commitment to Expand College Access and Completion at White House Event

Oakland, CA – College Track CEO, Elissa Salas and David Silver joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden at the second White House College Opportunity Day of Action. We were among hundreds of higher education leaders including college presidents, nonprofit executives, and advocates of equal post-secondary education access. Collectively, organizations announced over 600 new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action supports students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in the attainment of a college education.  

In partnership with the White House, College Track commits to:
•    Increase the number of students we serve to 3,000 by 2017
•    Serve 10,000 students in 10 years and increase our college graduates tenfold
•    Double the number of college partnerships to 35 by 2017
•    Expand our impact in existing regions in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Colorado

 “We live in a society where your zip code too often determines our students access to college and the American Dream. College Track provides its students with two things: the tools to succeed and a belief that they can,” said Elissa Salas, CEO at College Track. “One student at a time, we are transforming communities to places where college is not just a dream, but an expectation.”

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.

President Obama announced 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. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition. For more on the White House College Opportunity Day of Action, click here.

About College Track

College Track is a national college completion program that empowers students from underserved communities to graduate from college. From the summer before 9th grade through college graduation, our 10-year program removes barriers that prevent students from earning their college degree by providing them with comprehensive academic support, leadership training, financial and college advising, and scholarships. We teach them the skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

College Track was founded in 1997. We currently serve over 2,000 high school and college students in East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans, Colorado, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Today, 94% of our high school seniors have been accepted to four-year colleges and our college graduation rate is 2.5 times the national average for low-income students. For more information visit www.collegetrack.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.