President Biden Announces Appointments to Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities



WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announces his intent to appoint qualified and diverse leaders to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The President’s Board will advance the goal of the HBCU Initiative, established by the Carter Administration, to increase the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity.

In 2021, President Biden appointed Drs. Tony Allen and Glenda Glover to serve as Chair and Vice Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs, respectively. In February, he appointed Dr. Dietra Trent as executive director of the White House HBCU Initiative.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the vital mission of HBCUs. Through the American Rescue Plan, grant funding, and by forgiving capital improvement debt of many these institutions, the Biden-Harris Administration has already committed more than $5.8 billion in supportReestablishing the White House HBCU Initiative – and appointing qualified and diverse individuals to the Board – will allow the administration to build on that financial commitment with continued institutional support.

President Biden announces his intent to appoint the following individuals to serve as members on the board:

  • Makola M. Abdullah
  • Javaune Adams-Gaston
  • Paige Blake
  • Thasunda Brown Duckett
  • Willie A. Deese
  • Patrick Cokley
  • Monica Goldson
  • Brett J. Hart
  • Taraji P. Henson
  • Beverly W. Hogan
  • Lisa P. Jackson
  • Shevrin D. Jones
  • Walter M. Kimbrough
  • William F. L. Moses
  • Christopher E. Paul
  • Quinton T. Ross Jr.
  • Ruth J. Simmons
  • Janeen Uzzell

Makola M. Abdullah

Dr. Makola M. Abdullah is the 14th President of Virginia State University (VSU). He is a member of numerous boards and committees including: Council of 1890s Presidents for Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU); Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College, and the Council of Presidents for Virginia Institutions of Higher Education, and Board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Prior to his appointment as President of Virginia State University, Dr. Abdullah served as provost and senior vice president at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, and dean and director of 1890 land grant programs at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee. Dr. Abdullah is a Chicago native. He earned his undergraduate degree from Howard University in civil engineering and his doctorate and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Northwestern University. He is the youngest African American to receive a Ph.D. in engineering. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He and his wife, Ahkinyala Cobb-Abdullah, Ph.D., are the proud parents of a son, Mikaili, and a daughter, Sefiyetu, who both are college graduates.

Javaune Adams-Gaston

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D., serves as the seventh President of Norfolk State University, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s largest Historically Black College and University in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Adams-Gaston is committed to the mission of Norfolk State University to transform the lives of students through access to higher education and excellence in scholarship, career preparation, and service. Dr. Adams-Gaston is committed to student success and the development of the student holistically through academic excellence, mentorship, mental and physical wellness, internships, and civic engagement. Since her arrival on campus in June 2019, Dr. Adams-Gaston has advocated for increased financial support for the benefit of students, faculty and staff and the stability of the institution. Dr. Adams-Gaston was pivotal in securing a $40 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott—the largest single gift in NSU’s history. She has led the university in successful efforts to secure grants and partnerships from corporations such as Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, IBM, Dominion Energy, and others. Under her tenure, NSU has been designated a Top 20 HBCU for consecutive years in U.S News and World Report Rankings. Prior to becoming President at Norfolk State University, Dr. Adams-Gaston served as Senior Vice President for Student Life at The Ohio State University. During her career at the University of Maryland, Dr. Adams-Gaston held numerous positions including psychologist, associate dean in academic affairs, assistant athletic director, equity administrator, and graduate faculty member. Dr. Adams-Gaston had a practice for 25 years as a licensed psychologist and as an educator, she is frequently asked to provide speeches, lectures, and to serve on panels regarding student success and leadership.

Paige Blake

Paige Blake is a 20-year-old native of Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is a junior at Bowie State University where she majors in Biology and is on the pre-med track. Paige plans to attend medical school to study Neurology to help others with Spina Bifida and other neurological conditions. Paige was diagnosed at age 4 with a rare form of Sacral Agenesis (a form of Spina Bifida). Over time she’s learned the importance of advocacy after having her own share of hardships in her life with her disability. Paige has used her personal experiences to advocate and help others in various ways, such as organizing donation drives with her Girl Scout troop where they sent medical supplies to countries overseas and working with The Congressional Black Caucus and President Obama’s White House Initiative on African American Excellence to advocate for disabled students. Currently, Paige has been named the 2021-2022 White House Initiative HBCU Competitiveness Scholar for Bowie State University. She also is working with The University System of Maryland Student Council as the Director of Student Affairs, where she advocates for students to ensure that present and future college students in the state of Maryland will have positive and equal opportunities.

Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett is President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, a Fortune 100 provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people working in higher education, healthcare and other mission-driven organizations. As TIAA’s CEO, Duckett leads a company whose mission is defined by financial inclusion and opportunity – goals and values she has upheld throughout her career. Duckett joined TIAA after serving as Chief Executive Officer of Chase Consumer Banking, where she oversaw a banking network with more than $600 billion in deposits and 50,000 employees. Duckett serves on the boards of NIKE, Inc., Brex Inc., Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Sesame Workshop, National Medal of Honor Museum, Economic Club of New York, University of Houston Board of Visitors and Dean’s Advisory Board for the Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. She’s a member of the Executive Leadership Council, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Jack and Jill of America Inc. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from Baylor University.

Willie A. Deese

Willie A. Deese is a retired pharmaceutical executive and corporate board member whose career spans 5 decades.  He most recently served as Executive Vice President of Manufacturing at Merck and Co. Inc.  He is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and credits his alma mater with providing him the foundational platform on which he was able to build a successful career.  He is recognized for his expertise in manufacturing and supply chain management as well as his proactive contributions defining healthy, engaged corporate cultures, implementing environmental and sustainability standards, DEI practices and policies, and leadership development.  He fervently believes that when we level the playing field by providing equitable resources and opportunities for all, it leads to positive outcomes that have an exponential impact on society.  Recently, North Carolina A&T named its College of Business and Economics in his honor.

Patrick Cokley

Patrick Cokley works to bring issues of inclusion to the forefront of all communities. In his role as Chief of Organizing Advocacy and Learning at Civic Influencers, Patrick believes in the importance of giving all young people the tools they need to be engaged citizens with the ability to bring positive change to their communities. Patrick’s dedication to service stems from the values he learned from his family as well as time at an HBCU. As a graduate of Howard University, Patrick believes that it is imperative that the disability and traditional diversity communities learn to work together as they both share the core values of inclusion. Only together can our communities realize the success of an America that is inclusive of all of its citizens. Originally from South Carolina, Patrick now makes his home in New Jersey. In addition to being a person who is low vision, Patrick is also the parent of two children with disabilities.

Monica Goldson

Dr. Monica Goldson, Chief Executive Officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), is the dedicated and dynamic leader of the 20th largest school district in the nation. A three-time HBCU graduate, she is committed to creating transformative experiences that propel students to their highest levels of excellence. Dr. Goldson focuses on doing what is best for students and educators, especially amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her longtime advocacy for public education was key in mobilizing the PGCPS community to provide laptops, internet service and technology assistance to families in need while building virtual learning from the ground up. Beyond the schoolhouse, she is a member of Chiefs for Change, a graduate of Leadership Greater Washington, and a board member of Nonprofit Prince George’s and the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldson holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree in Elementary and Secondary School Administration from Bowie State University, and a doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy from Howard University. She has two adult sons, both graduates of Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Brett Hart

Brett Hart is President of United Airlines and is responsible for leading the company’s external-facing teams as well as operational workgroups including Technical Operations, Airport Operations, Corporate Safety, United Ground Express and Network Operations. He also oversees business-critical functions such as the customer experience, government affairs, corporate real estate, human resources, and labor relations teams.  Mr. Hart previously served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for United.  A longtime resident of Chicago, Mr. Hart has been extensively involved in social, cultural, and economic causes impacting his home community.  Brett serves on the boards of World Business Chicago, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, Northwestern Medical Group, and the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council. Brett received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and English from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School. He is married and has three sons.

Taraji P. Henson

Academy Award-nominated and SAG and Golden Globe-winning actor, filmmaker, and activist, Taraji P. Henson quickly rose to fame after her breakout performance in the critically acclaimed film Hustle & Flow.  In 2020, Henson wrapped her iconic run as “Cookie Lyon” in Fox’s hit musical drama Empire, which has earned her three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, a Critics Choice Award, and three BET Awards. Prior credits include Hidden Figures, which won her a SAG for Best Ensemble, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination.  In Summer 2022, she has Minions: The Rise of Gru and is currently in production on Blitz Bazawule’s The Color Purple, where she will star as Shug Avery. Henson launched TPH Entertainment with upcoming projects including Two-Faced with Bron Entertainment, which will mark Henson’s feature film directorial debut, Alessandro Camon’s Time Alone, which Henson will also star in, and Sorcerority, which she will co-produce with Game Changer Films and Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. In October 2016, Henson released her New York Times bestselling novel “Around The Way Girl.” Henson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 in honor of her late father, which provides scholarships to African-American students majoring in mental health, offers mental health services to youth in urban schools, and works to lower the recidivism rates of African-American men and women. Henson recently co-hosted the Facebook Watch series on mental health called Peace of Mind with Taraji, for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination. In 2019, Henson received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Beverly W. Hogan

Beverly Wade Hogan has a long and distinguished career as a public administrator, educator, community leader and humanitarian. As the first woman to lead the historic institution, Hogan served as President at Tougaloo College for 17 years. She retired with the distinction of President Emerita. She had also served the College as the founding director of the George A. and Ruth B. Owens Health, Wellness and Human Resources Center, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Interim President. During her presidential tenure, she and her team enhanced the college’s curricula with new undergraduate and graduate degree programs and  expanded partnerships with major research institutions for three plus two degree programs in law, engineering, and public health; established the Undergraduate Research Center, the Center for International Studies and Global Change, the Institute for the Study of Modern Day Slavery, the Early College High School; and made significant improvements in campus physical and technological infrastructure. Prior to becoming a college president, Hogan served as Commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Commission; Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Federal State Programs; Executive Director of the Mental Health Association. She is a national voice for higher education, having served on the board of directors for the Council of Independent Colleges, National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities, NAFEO and UNCF. She was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

Lisa P. Jackson

Lisa P. Jackson is Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, where she leads the company’s environmental initiatives, racial equity and justice initiative, global education policy programs, product accessibility efforts, corporate giving and philanthropic partnerships, and worldwide government affairs. Her work includes driving Apple’s support for HBCUs through coding initiatives, innovation partnerships and the launch of the Propel Center. Under President Barack Obama, she served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, becoming the first Black person to hold the position. She also served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and as Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, following nearly 20 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Lisa has been recognized as a leader in business and sustainability by numerous publications, including Ebony’s Power 100, Black Enterprise’s Women of Power, Essence Magazine’s 40 Women Who Have Influenced the World lists, and Women of Color magazine. She is the recipient of Princeton’s James Madison Medal and Tulane University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, among others. Lisa holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University. She also holds an honorary degree from Spelman College and maintains close ties to Xavier University in New Orleans. She serves on the boards of Tulane University, the American Film Institute, and Conservation International and is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Lisa and her husband Kenneth reside in San Francisco.

Shevrin Jones

Florida State Senator Shevrin “Shev” Jones is an educator, public servant, and consensus builder who has dedicated his life to serving others and building pathways to opportunity. Thanks to the encouragement of his close-knit family and supportive teachers, Jones recognized from a young age the power of education as the great equalizer, a foundation that drove Shevrin into teaching to help students reach their full potential. A proud graduate of Florida A&M University, Jones taught high school chemistry in Broward Public Schools before founding L.E.A.D. Nation, a South Florida nonprofit organization committed to youth leadership development and social entrepreneurship training. Jones’ firsthand look at the inequities in education and society at large propelled him to enter public service, and since 2013, he has served in the Florida legislature, championing meaningful bipartisan legislation including two consecutive bills to secure dignity for incarcerated women; statewide expansion of a clean syringe exchange program; safety and oversight for athletic coaches for youth athletic teams; increased investment in underserved communities; and greater transparency and accountability for law enforcement. The first LGBTQ State Senator elected in Florida history, Jones served on President Barack Obama’s College Promise Task Force and is an active member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Young Elected Officials Network, and Millennial Action Project’s Florida Future Caucus. Today, Jones is completing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Florida Atlantic University.

Walter M. Kimbrough

A native of Atlanta, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough was his high school salutatorian and student bodypresident, and went on to earn degrees from the University of Georgia, Miami University in Ohio, and a doctorate in higher education from Georgia State University. He has enjoyed a fulfilling career in student affairs, serving at Emory University, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University, and Albany State University. In October of 2004, at the age of 37, he was named the 12th President of Philander Smith College. In 2012, he became the 7th President of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college. Recently he has emerged as one of the leaders discussing free speech on college campuses. Kimbrough also has been noted for his active use of social media. He was cited by Education Dive as one of 10 college presidents on Twitter who are doing it right and was profiled in the text, “Digital Leadership In Higher Education.” In 2020 he was named by College Cliffs as one of 50 Top U.S. College and University Presidents.

William F. L. Moses

William F. L. Moses serves as Managing Director for the Kresge Foundation’s Education Program, which supports postsecondary access and success for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students in the United States and South Africa. The key architect of Kresge’s education programming, Bill leads the team’s continuum of grant activities and for more than 20 years has awarded grants to HBCUs and MSIs, including UNCF, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Paul Quinn College, Delaware State University, Jackson State University, and Xavier University, among others. Prior to joining Kresge, Bill served as Executive Director of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, a Senior Analyst at the Investor Responsibility Research Center, a research officer at TechnoServe, and in various positions at the Alaska State Legislature, and the federal government, including the U.S. Embassy in Cape Town, South Africa. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Bill holds a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University, and is the author of A Guide to American State and Local Laws on South Africa and co-author of Corporate Responsibility in a Changing South Africa.  Bill currently serves on the advisory committees or boards of the Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group, APIA Scholars, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s External Leadership Council, College Promise, Detroit College Access Network, and the Seal of Excelencia.

Christopher Paul

Christopher “Chris” Paul is a twelve-time NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns, two-time Olympic Gold medalist and is listed as one of the NBA’s 75 greatest players in NBA history. Off the court, he’s a father, husband, entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist. His leadership and impact are well noted in the sports industry as he recently ended an eight-year tenure as the President of the National Basketball Players Association. His advocacy for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is extremely important and through his Chris Paul Family Foundation, he has actively expanded a Business of Entertainment Media and Sports special topics course at NC A& T, Southern University, Winston Salem State and Clark Atlanta University.  His production company, Ohh Dip!!! creates content across multiple platforms, which includes the Why Not Us franchise of shows with NC Central Men’s Basketball and FAMU Football. Paul co-launched the Social Change Fund United dedicated to investing in and supporting organizations focused on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all black lives. His philanthropic efforts have earned him the 2016 ESPYs “Humanitarian of the Year” award, 2016 Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award, the NBA Community Assist Award five times, and most recently the inaugural Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award for his significant contributions to the advancement of girls’ and women’s basketball and advocacy for the WNBA.

Quinton T. Ross Jr.

Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., is entering his fifth year as President of Alabama State University, having assumed the leadership role at his alma mater on October 3, 2017. His tenure has been marked by transformative and innovative leadership that has included a 130 percent increase in fundraising, expansion of national and global partnerships, advancement of strategic initiatives under the brand of “CommUniversity,” and an increased emphasis on student success. President Ross is a three-time graduate of Alabama State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, a Master of Education degree in Secondary Education English, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law. Dr. Ross is a distinguished career educator with more than 28 years of experience in Higher and K-12 public education. Prior to becoming the University’s 15th President, Dr. Ross served with distinction as a senator in the Alabama Legislature for four terms.

Ruth J. Simmons

Ruth J. Simmons is President of Prairie View A&M University. Prior to joining Prairie View, she served as President of Smith College from 1995 to 2001 and President of Brown University from 2001 to 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Dillard University and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. Simmons serves on the Council of the Smithsonian National Museum of History and Culture and the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch.

Janeen Uzzell

Janeen Uzzell is the Chief Executive Officer at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the largest Black STEM community impacting society and industry. In her former role as the Chief Operating Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, Janeen drove process improvement and helped launch the Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund to address racial inequities in free knowledge. For nearly two decades, she held various roles at General Electric, working in healthcare technologies in some of the world’s most challenging environments. As the head of Women in Technology, she accelerated the number of women in technical roles. Her previous roles at GE included Global Director of External Affairs and Technology Programs, Director of Healthcare Programs at GE Africa (where Janeen lived for several years as an Ex-Pat in Accra, Ghana), Director of Global Healthcare Programs, Director of Healthcare Disparity Programs, and Director of Service Operations. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the United Nations Global Leadership Award and one of ADWEEK’s Top Black Women Trailblazers in Tech. Janeen received her Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and an MBA in International Business from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Janeen fuses her passion for social justice and her leadership to shine light on inequality in tech spaces and forge opportunities for others. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family and friends in Washington, D.C.


U.S. Department of Education Announces Action to Support HBCU Response to Bomb Threats


MARCH 16, 2022


Today, Vice President Kamala Harris and the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that have recently experienced a bomb threat resulting in a disruption to the campus learning environment, are eligible to apply for grant funds under the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program.

Project SERV provides short-term immediate funding for local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) that have experienced a violent or traumatic incident to assist in restoring a safe environment conducive to learning.

“The recent bomb threats experienced by HBCUs have shaken students and fractured their sense of safety and belonging, which are critical to their academic success and wellbeing,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We, at the Department of Education, recognize how these threats evoke a painful history of violence against Black Americans in this country that is especially traumatizing to HBCU students, faculty, and staff. Today’s announcement will improve access to Project SERV grants for HBCUs as these institutions work to address students’ mental health needs, shore up campus security, and restore learning environments so that they can get back to doing what they do best—educating the next generation of great leaders.”

The Department will work with HBCUs that have received recent bomb threats to determine if Project SERV can help with immediate needs, such as targeted mental health resources or enhanced security to restore the learning environment on their campuses. Funding for Project SERV is limited, and awards typically range from $50,000 to $150,000 per school.

“The bomb threats against HBCUs, particularly concentrated in Black History Month, constitute a uniquely traumatic event, given the history of bombings as a tactic to intimidate and provoke fear in Black Americans during the long struggle for civil rights in the 20th century,” said Dietra Trent, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities. “In this context, even the threat of bombings at HBCUs can have a deep and unsettling impact on students, faculty, and staff that significantly disrupts the learning environment. Our HBCUs are pillars of strength and resiliency, and we will continue working to promote policies and practices that fortify that strength and advance educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunity through these institutions.”

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of students, staff and faculty, and addressing these repeated threats to HBCU campuses. Following the first reports of the threats, Secretary Cardona and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hosted a briefing with more than 40 presidents of HBCUs from across the nation to share information about grant programs, training resources, and other tools available to HBCUs to strengthen campus safety and security. Biden-Harris Administration leaders have also recently visited HBCU campuses, hearing firsthand about the need to modernize and update their operations, including campus safety and security, and the need for more resources to help bolster mental health services due to increased apprehension across the campus community.

In addition to today’s announcement, the Department will provide HBCUs with a compendium of the resources that are available across the Federal government. These other resources can help with long-term improvements to campus mental health programs, campus safety and emergency management planning and response.

An HBCU that experienced a recent bomb threat may receive more information about the opportunity for support under Project SERV by emailing


Executive Order on White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Presidential Executive Order 14041

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws
of the United States of America, and in order to advance equity in economic and
educational opportunities for all Americans, including Black Americans, strengthen the
capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide the
highest-quality education, increase opportunities for these institutions to participate in and
benefit from Federal programs, and ensure that HBCUs can continue to be engines
of opportunity, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. HBCUs have a proud history and legacy of achievement. In the face
of discrimination against Black Americans by many institutions of higher education, HBCUs
created pathways to opportunity and educational excellence for Black students throughout our
Nation. That legacy continues. Today, more than 100 HBCUs, located in 19 States, the
District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serve nearly 300,000 students
annually. HBCUs vary in size and academic focus and serve a range of diverse
students and communities in urban, rural, and suburban settings.

HBCUs play a vital role in providing educational opportunities, scholarly growth, and a
sense of community for students. HBCU graduates are barrier breaking public servants,
scientists, artists, lawyers, engineers, educators, business owners, and leaders. For
generations, HBCUs have been advancing intergenerational economic mobility for Black
families and communities, developing vital academic research, and making our country more
prosperous and equitable. HBCUs are proven means of advancement for people of all
ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds, especially Black Americans. HBCUs produce
nearly 20 percent of all Black college graduates and 25 percent of Black
graduates who earn degrees in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and

HBCUs’ successes have come despite many systemic barriers to accessing resources and
opportunities. For example, compared to other higher education institutions, on average
HBCUs educate a greater percentage of lower- income, Pell-grant eligible students, while
receiving less revenue from tuition and possessing much smaller endowments. Disparities in
resources and opportunities for HBCUs and their students remain, and the COVID–19
pandemic has highlighted continuing and new challenges. These challenges include
addressing the need for enhanced physical and digital infrastructure in HBCU communities
and ensuring equitable funding for HBCUs as com- pared to other institutions of
higher education. The Federal Government must promote a variety of modern
solutions for HBCUs, recognizing that HBCUs are not a monolith, and that the opportunities
and challenges relevant to HBCUs are as diverse as the institutions themselves and the
communities they serve.

It is the policy of my Administration to advance educational equity, excellence, and
economic opportunity in partnership with HBCUs, and to ensure that these vital
institutions of higher learning have the resources and support to continue to thrive for
generations to come.

Sec. 2. White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic
Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

(a) In furtherance of the policy set out in section 1 of this order, there is established in
the Department of Education (Department), the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational
Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and
Universities (Initiative), led by an Executive Director designated by the
President and appointed consistent with applicable law. The Executive Director
shall manage the day-to-day operations of the Initiative, in consultation with
the Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement as
appropriate, and coordinate with senior officials across the Executive Office of
the President, who shall lend their expertise and advice to the Initiative.

(b) The Initiative, in coordination with senior officials across the Executive Office of
the President, shall provide advice to the President on advancing equity, excellence,
and opportunity at HBCUs and for the communities they principally serve by
coordinating a Government-wide policymaking effort to eliminate barriers HBCUs face
in providing the highest-quality education to a growing number of students. The
Initiative’s recommendations shall include advice on advancing policies, programs, and
initiatives that further the policy set out in section 1 of this order.

(i) To support implementation of this Government-wide approach to breaking down
systemic barriers for HBCU participation in Federal Government programs, the Director of
the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for
Domestic Policy shall coordinate closely with the Secretary of Education (Secretary),
the Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, the
Executive Director, and the Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs (as
established in section 3 of this order) to ensure that the needs and voices of HBCUs,
their faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the communities they principally serve are
considered in the efforts of my Administration to advance educational equity, excellence, and

(ii) The Initiative shall also perform the following specific functions:

(A) supporting implementation of the HBCU Propelling Agency Relation- ships Towards a New Era
of Results for Students Act (Public Law 116– 270) (PARTNERS Act);

(B) working closely with the Executive Office of the President on key Administration
priorities related to advancing educational equity, excellence, and economic
opportunity through HBCUs, in partnership with HBCU leaders, representatives, students,
and alumni;

(C) working to break down barriers and expand pathways for HBCUs to access Federal
funding and programs, particularly in areas of research and development, innovation, and
financial and other support to students;

(D) strengthening the capacity of HBCUs to participate in Federal pro- grams, access
Federal resources, including grants and procurement opportunities, and partner with Federal

(E) advancing and coordinating efforts to ensure that HBCUs can respond to and recover from
the COVID–19 pandemic and thoroughly support students’ holistic recovery, from
academic engagement to social and emotional wellbeing;

(F) developing new and expanding pre-existing national networks of individuals,
organizations, and communities to share and implement administrative and programmatic
best practices related to advancing educational equity, excellence, and opportunity at

(G) fostering sustainable public-private and philanthropic partnerships as well as
private-sector initiatives to promote centers of academic research and program excellence at HBCUs;

(H) strengthening capacity to improve the availability, dissemination, and quality
of information about HBCUs and HBCU students for the American public;

(I) partnering with private entities, elementary and secondary education providers, and
other stakeholders to build a pipeline for students that may be interested in
attending HBCUs, facilitate HBCU modernization, address college affordability, and
promote degree attainment;

(J) addressing efforts to promote student success and retention, including college affordability,
degree attainment, campus modernization and infra- structure improvements, and the
development of a student recognition program for high-achieving HBCU students;

(K) encouraging the development of highly qualified, diverse, culturally responsive
educators and administrators reflective of a variety of communities and backgrounds in
order to ensure that students have access to educators and administrators who
celebrate, cultivate, and comprehend the lived experiences of HBCU students and effectively
meet their learning, social, and emotional needs;

(L) establishing clear plans to strengthen Federal recruitment activities at HBCUs to
build accessible and equitable pathways into Federal service and talent programs;

(M) meeting regularly with HBCU students, leaders, and representatives to address matters
related to the Initiative’s mission and functions; and

(N) hosting the National HBCU Week Conference, for HBCU executive leaders, faculty,
students, alumni, supporters, and other stakeholders to share information, innovative
educational tools and resources, student success models, and ideas for Federal engagement.

(c) The head of each ‘‘applicable agency,’’ as defined in section 3(1) of
the PARTNERS Act, shall submit to the Secretary, the Executive Director, the Committee
on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, the Committee on
Education and Labor of the House of Representatives, and the President’s Board of
Advisors on HBCUs (as established in section 3 of this order) an Agency Plan, not later than February 1 of each year, describing
efforts to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to participate or be eligible to
participate in the programs and initiatives under the jurisdiction of such applicable agency.
The Agency Plans shall meet the requirements established in section 4(d) of the PARTNERS Act.

(i) In addition, the Agency Plan shall specifically address any changes to
agency policies and practices that the agency deems necessary or appropriate to
ensure that barriers to participation are addressed and removed. Each Agency Plan
shall include details on grant and contract funding provided to HBCUs and, where the
agency deems necessary or appropriate, describe plans to address disparities in furtherance
of the objectives of this order.

(ii) The Executive Director shall monitor and evaluate each agency’s progress
towards the goals established in its Agency Plan and shall coordinate with each
agency to ensure that its Agency Plan includes measurable and action-oriented goals.

(d) There is established an Interagency Working Group, which shall be chaired by the
Executive Director and composed of liaisons and representatives designated by the
heads of each applicable agency as defined in the PARTNERS Act to help advance and
coordinate the work required by this order. Additional members of the Interagency
Working Group shall include senior officials from the Office of the Vice
President, the White House Domestic Policy Council, the White House Gender Policy
Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the White House Office of Science and
Technology Policy, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and representatives
of other components of the Executive Office of the President, as the Executive
Director, in consultation with the Secretary and the Assistant to the President and
Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, considers appropriate.

The Interagency Working Group shall collaborate regarding resources and opportunities available

across the Federal Government to increase educational equity and opportunities for HBCUs.

The Executive Director may establish subgroups of the Interagency Working Group.

(e) The Department shall provide funding and administrative support for the Initiative
and the Interagency Working Group, to the extent permitted by law and within existing
appropriations. To the extent permitted by law, including the Economy Act (31 U.S.C.
1535), and subject to the availability of appropriations, other agencies and offices
represented on the Interagency Working Group may detail personnel to the Initiative, to assist
the Department in meeting the objectives of this order.

(f) To advance shared priorities and policies that advance equity and economic
opportunity for underserved communities, the Initiative shall collaborate and coordinate
with other White House Initiatives related to equity and economic opportunity.

(g) On an annual basis, the Executive Director shall report to the President through
the Secretary, with the support and consultation of the Assistant to the President and
Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement as appropriate, on the Initiative’s
progress in carrying out its mission and function under this order.

Sec. 3. President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
(a) There is established in the Department the President’s Board of Advisors on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Board). The Board shall fulfill the
mission and functions established in section 5(c) of the PARTNERS Act. The
Board shall include sitting HBCU presidents as well as leaders from a variety of sectors,
including education, philanthropy, business, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation, science
and technology, and private foundations.

(b) The President shall designate one member of the Board to serve as its Chair,
and may designate another member of the Board to serve as Vice Chair. The
Department shall provide funding and administrative support for the Board to the extent
permitted by law and within existing appropriations.

(c) The Board shall be composed of not more than 21 members appointed by the
President. The Secretary of Education and Executive Director of the Initiative or
their designees shall serve as ex officio members.

(d) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), may
apply to the Board, any functions of the President under that Act, except that of
reporting to the Congress, shall be performed by the Chair, in accordance with
guidelines issued by the Administrator of General Services.

(e) Members of the Board shall serve without compensation, but may receive
travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law for
persons serving intermittently in the Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701–5707).

Sec. 4. Administrative Provisions. (a) This order supersedes Executive Order 13779 of
February 28, 2017 (White House Initiative To Promote Excellence and Innovation at
Historically Black Colleges and Universities), which is hereby revoked. To the
extent that there are other Executive Orders that may conflict with or overlap
with the provisions in this order, the provisions in this order supersede those
prior Executive Orders on these subjects.

(b) As used in this order, the terms ‘‘Historically Black Colleges and
Universities’’ and ‘‘HBCUs’’ shall mean those institutions listed in 34 C.F.R. 608.2.

(c) The heads of executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide
information to the Initiative and Board established in this order, consistent with
applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Initiative and the Board.

(d) Each executive department and agency shall bear its own expenses of participating in
the Initiative established in this order.

Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to
impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head
thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to
budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the
availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit,
substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party
against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers,
employees, or agents, or any other person.

September 3, 2021.



[FR Doc. 2021–19579
Filed 9–8–21; 8:45 am] Billing code 3295–F1–P

Secretary DeVos Delivers Nearly $1.4 Billion in Additional CARES Act Relief Funds to HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions, and Colleges and Universities Serving Low-Income Students

APRIL 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that nearly $1.4 billion in additional funding will be directed to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), as well as institutions serving low-income students to help ensure learning continues during the coronavirus national emergency. This funding is part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump less than five weeks ago.

“This Administration is committed to the success of HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions, and the students they serve. Each institution is unique and is an important part of this country’s educational fabric,” said Secretary DeVos. “By providing additional support to these important institutions, we can help ensure they emerge from this crisis stronger than before. I encourage these institutions, like all others, to use these funds to provide emergency grants to students during this challenging time, and to expand remote learning programs and build IT capacity. These are challenging times, but if we take this opportunity to transform higher education to meet the demands of the 21st century, our nation’s students and higher education as a whole will be better for it.”

Institutions may use this funding to cover the cost of technology associated with a transition to distance education, grants to cover the costs of attendance for eligible students, and faculty and staff trainings. Additionally, funds may be used to cover operational costs, such as lost revenue, reimbursements for prior expenses, and payroll.

These additional funding allocations to MSIs, including HBCUs and TCCUs, and institutions eligible for the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) represent 7.5 percent of overall HEER funds, or around $1 billion. This funding is provided on top of the primary HEER Fund allocation announced earlier in April. HBCUs, for example, will collectively receive an additional $577 million through the awards announced today. That amount is on top of the $353 million amount that the Department allocated to HBCUs through the HEER Fund earlier in the month. TCCUs will receive over $50 million in this round of HEER funding, bringing the total allocation to TCCUs under the fund to $65 million.

The HEER Fund also sets aside 2.5 percent of the HEER Fund ($349 million) to address the greatest unmet needs related to the coronavirus, giving priority to schools that have not been allocated at least $500,000 from the fund. The Department is deploying these funds to ensure that every eligible public and private nonprofit institution will receive at least $500,000 in CARES Act relief funding.

In order to access these funds, eligible institutions must sign a Certification and Agreement certifying that they will use their allocations in accordance with the CARES Act and all other applicable federal law. Schools have until Aug. 1, 2020, to apply for the funds. The Certification and Agreement, a cover letter, and the HEER Fund allocation tables by institution are available on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s CARES Act website.

The Department has taken quick action to support higher education students from the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Colleges and universities were given immediate regulatory flexibility so students’ educations could continue online. Under the leadership of President Trump, the Department also provided student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers by setting all federally held student loan interest rates to zero percent and allowing borrowers to defer payments for 60 days without interest. The CARES Act extends those benefits to six months. The Department also stopped all federal wage garnishments and collections actions for borrowers with federally held loans in default. Additionally, the Department made $6.2 billion available for emergency cash grants for higher education students, followed by $6.2 billion allocated to higher education institutions to ensure learning continues. The Department also disbursed $7 million to Gallaudet University and $13 million to Howard University in accordance with the CARES Act, which allocated this funding to help these unique institutions address the challenges associated with the coronavirus.

The Department continues to update with information on COVID-19 for students, parents, educators and local leaders.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following websites:, and

Peace Corps Celebrates Service at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University

THURSDAY: Peace Corps Celebrates Service at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University

NEW YORK, N.Y., October 27, 2016 – On Thursday, November 3, the Peace Corps will visit Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee to speak with students and Floridians about the value of making a difference through Peace Corps service. This event serves as one of the many stops found on the Peace Corps’ two-week tour of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the East Coast.

Peace Corps will be joined by other federal agencies and non-profit organizations, including the Department of State, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, USAID, City Year, and the White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities, to discuss the opportunities and benefits that result from international service.

WHAT:          Peace Corps event at Florida A&M University

WHEN:          5:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, November 3, 2016

WHERE:       Perry Paige Auditorium, 1740 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32301

RSVP:            Media interested in attending this event can RSVP to Emily Webb at

Florida is the fourth highest Peace Corps volunteer-producing state in the nation, with 299 residents of the Sunshine State currently serving overseas. Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, 7,842 Floridians have served overseas.

There are currently five FAMU graduates serving as Peace Corps volunteers in the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Nepal and Zambia and 79 FAMU graduates have served overseas since the Peace Corps was established.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Peace Corps Teams Up with The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities for East Coast Tour

Peace Corps Teams Up with The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities for East Coast Tour


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2016 – This fall, the Peace Corps has partnered with The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and several other federal agencies to launch a two week tour of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the East Coast that will inform students about opportunities to live, learn, and work with communities overseas. As part of the tour, the Peace Corps will travel across eight states in the Peace Car to join the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USAID in speaking with students, faculty and graduates about international service at 15 HBCU campuses.

During the tour, the Peace Corps will join administrators at Savannah State University on October 31 to officially launch the university’s Peace Corps Prep program

                                    The Peace Car

The Peace Car will be stopping at the campuses listed below. To keep track of its travels at Howard University and Savannah State University, follow the Peace Corps on Snapchat at the username peacecorps.

Fall 2016 HBCU Peace Car Tour:

Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Cheyney University in Cheyney, PA

Friday, October 21, 2016 – Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD

District of Columbia
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Howard University in Washington, DC
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Howard University in Washington, DC

Sunday, October 23, 2016 – National HBCU Conference in Arlington, VA
Monday, October 24, 2016 – National HBCU Conference in Arlington, VA
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – National HBCU Conference in Arlington, VA
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 – Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA

North Carolina
Thursday, October 27, 2016 – North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC

South Carolina
Friday, October 28, 2016 – Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 – Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL
Thursday, November 3, 2016 – Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL

Saturday, October 29, 2016 – Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA
Monday, October 31, 2016 – Savannah State University in Savannah, GA
Friday, November 4, 2016 – Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, GA
Monday, November 7, 2016 – Spelman College in Atlanta, GA
Monday, November 7, 2016 – Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA
Monday, November 7, 2016 – Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA

About the Peace Corps:  The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter.


Helping More Americans Complete College: New Proposals For Success

Helping More Americans Complete College: New Proposals For Success

“We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.” —President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 12, 2016

At a time when the economy is changing faster than ever before, real opportunity requires that every American get the postsecondary education and training they need to find a good-paying job. President Obama believes that we must help many more Americans graduate from college. Still, far too many students never complete their degree – only 60 percent of those enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program complete their education. Even for those who do complete, at least a third take longer than expected to graduate, forcing them to carry additional costs and leave school with higher debt burdens. The consequences of not completing college are especially severe for students who leave school with debt; borrowers who drop out of college face a three times greater risk of defaulting on their student loans compared with those who graduate.

Since 2009, the Obama Administration has made historic investments in student financial aid that have helped ensure college stays within the reach of American families. It has increased the maximum Pell Grant by more than $1,000, and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth $10,000 over four years of college. It has cut student loan interest rates, saving students up to $1,000 this year, and allowed more borrowers to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their income through the President’s Pay As You Earn and related income-driven repayment plans. In total, the Obama Administration has increased total aid available to students by over $50 billion from 2008 to 2016, and selected tax benefits by over $12 billion, which has helped our Nation ensure more students are graduating college than ever before. At the same time, the Administration has sought to drive innovations that increase college completion, value and affordability by investing $135 million over the past two years under the First in the World program to scale evidenced-based practices to improve student outcomes and bring down college costs.

Building on this record of progress, today the Administration is announcing significant new investments in the federal Pell Grant program – the cornerstone of college affordability. The two new Pell proposals will help students to accelerate progress towards their degrees by attending school year-round and encourage students to take more credits per term, increasing their likelihood of on-time completion. In fiscal year 2017, these changes would mean an additional $2 billion in Pell Grants for students working toward their degrees.


  • Pell for Accelerated Completion would allow full-time students the opportunity to earn a third semester of Pell Grants in an academic year, enabling them to finish faster by taking additional courses year-round and better meeting the diverse needs of today’s students. Many full-time students exhaust their annual Pell eligibility after just two semesters and, as a result, are unable to pay for summer courses and must wait until the beginning of the next academic year to continue their studies. This proposal will provide nearly 700,000 students next year who are making real progress toward on time graduation with an additional $1,915 on average to help pay for college and complete their degrees faster.


  • On-Track Pell Bonus would create an incentive for students to stay on track or accelerate their progress towards a degree through an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award of $300 for students who take 15 credits per semester in an academic year. The bonus would encourage students to take the credits needed to finish an associate degree in two years (60 credits) or a bachelor’s degree in four years (120 credits). Finishing faster means more students will complete their education at a lower cost and likely with less student debt. This proposal would help an estimated 2.3 million students next year as they work to finish their degrees faster.

Key Administration Proposals to Support College Access and Success:

 Today’s new initiatives would complement existing Administration proposals designed to help more students from all backgrounds succeed in college, by helping to improve student outcomes and increase the number of students who graduate, accelerate degree completion time, make college more affordable, help lower student debt, and ensure students graduate with the knowledge and skills needed in today’s economy. Those include:


  • Making two years of high-quality community college free for responsible students through America’s College Promise, letting millions of responsible students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and the skills needed to succeed in the workforce at no cost. America’s College Promise would create a new partnership with states and would require everyone to do their part: Community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the share of students who graduate, states must invest more in higher education and training, and students must take responsibility for their educations, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate.


  • Ensure Pell Grants keep pace with rising costs by continuing to index the Pell Grant to inflation beyond 2017 with mandatory funding to protect and sustain its value into the future. The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act signed by the President increased the maximum award by the Consumer Price Index from 2013 to 2017. Without permanent CPI indexing, the purchasing power of Pell will erode, making it harder for students and families to afford college. Indexing the Pell Grant means that, compared with current law, the maximum Pell Grant award will increase by $1,300 in the 2026-2027 award year, resulting in larger awards for 9.2 million students.


  • Rewarding colleges that successfully enroll and graduate students from all backgrounds. The College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program would recognize and provide a bonus to high-performing colleges that enroll and graduate a significant number of low- and moderate-income students, as demonstrated by high graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients and low cohort default rates, and encourage all institutions to improve their performance.


  • Building effective community college programs in high-demand fields through the American Technical Training Fund. The program would provide competitive grants to support the development, operation, and expansion of innovative, evidence-based, and tuition-free job training programs in high-demand fields. It will enable youth and adults, particularly from low- and moderate-income families, to complete education and training that lead to jobs in high-demand industries and occupations.

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

Achievement gap continues to narrow for underserved students

 U.S. students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 82 percent in 2013-14, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago.

“America’s students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”

What’s more, the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students receiving high school diplomas continues to narrow, and traditionally underserved populations like English language learners and students with disabilities continue to make gains, the data show.

“A high school diploma is absolutely critical, absolutely attainable and key to future success in college, in the workforce and in life. It is encouraging to see our graduation rate on the rise and I applaud the hard work we know it takes to see this increase. But too many students never get their diploma, never walk across the graduation stage and while our dropout numbers are also decreasing, we remain committed to urgently closing the gaps that still exist in too many schools and in too many communities.”


Overall Changes in Graduation Rates
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 3-yr change (2010-11 to 2013-14)
American Indian/Alaska Native 65 67 69.7 69.6 4.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 87 88 88.7 89.4 2.4
Hispanic 71 73 75.2 76.3 5.3
Black 67 69 70.7 72.5 5.5
White 84 86 86.6 87.2 3.2
Low Income 70 72 73.3 74.6 4.6
English Learners 57 59 61.1 62.6 5.6
Students with Disabilities 59 61 61.9 63.1 4.1
Total 79 80 81.4 82.3 3.3

Achievement Gap Changes

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Black-white gap 17 17 15.9 14.8
Hispanic-white gap 13 13 11.4 11

Since 2010, states, districts and schools have been using a new, common metric—the adjusted cohort graduation rate—to promote greater accountability and develop strategies that will help reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide. For four consecutive years, graduation rates have continued to climb, which reflects continued progress among America’s high school students.

To ensure the economic strength of our country, students must graduate high school ready for college, careers and life. The Department has invested more than $1.5 billion in early learning; implemented strategies that improve achievement and close opportunity gaps, and awarded billions of dollars through such grant programs as Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and School Improvement Grants; and expanded college access and affordability for families.

To view the graduation rate data—including a state-by-state breakdown—click here.

HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call To Action!!!

As the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions have taken effect, 17.6 million Americans have gained coverage, and, since 2010, we’ve reduced the uninsured rate in this country by 45 percent. For  African Americans, more than 500,000 young adults between the ages of 19 and 26 who would have been uninsured now have coverage under their parents’ plan adding to the total of 2.3 million African Americans (ages 18-64) who have gained health insurance coverage, lowering the uninsured rate among African Americans by 6.8 percentage points.

Even with these major strides, too many African-Americans remain uninsured. We must work together to spread the word about new coverage options. This includes working with the states that have yet to expand Medicaid to get as many people covered as possible. To accomplish this, the White House Office of Public Engagement (WHOPE), White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU), U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Enroll America (EA) would like to invite the collegiate and graduate members chapters Nation Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) in collaboration with White House Initiative HBCU All-Stars to participate in the HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action.

HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action

The HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action is to engage student leaders, partner Greek organizations, and university/ college officials to work with Enroll America to convene a 4-hour phone bank event between the weeks of January 16th-30th on their campuses (or appropriate venue) to compete for a chance to win a video or phone call from a White House VIP surrogate.

This challenge will work as a component of the White House’s “Healthy Communities Challenge” which seeks to engage key communities with high percentages of uninsured in states across the country.

HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action is a national campaign that seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Raise awareness in targeted HBCU and surrounding communities about the ACA marketplace, preventive service benefits, enrollment deadlines and coverage options
  • Mobilize local partners, students and volunteers to make chase calls to the uninsured in their communities to remind and encourage marketplace and Medicaid* enrollment.
  • The campus that makes the greatest number of calls during the scheduled 4-hour event will be deemed the winner of the challenge.

To Participate:

Reach out to your local Enroll America Office to begin logistics process. Leaders from your local Enroll America Office will work with leaders to organize logistics, support in volunteer recruitment and training, and provide lists of known uninsured community residents.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. An independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Enroll America works with more than 4,600 partners in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to create cutting-edge tools, analyze data, inform policy, and share best practices in service of its mission: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Suggested Participants

  • College Students
  • Young Professionals
  • Sororities
  • Fraternities
  • Local community partners
  • Elected officials
  • College/University administrators and leaders

Target HBCU All-Star Colleges and Universities (not limited to):

  • Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
  • Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL
  • Bethune Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL
  • Spelman College,  Atlanta, GA
  • Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
  • Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
  • Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
  • Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
  • Fisk University, Nashville, TN