PHMSA Offering $2 Million in University Research Grants for Pipeline Safety Solutions
Grants Support Agency’s Recruitment Efforts
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced that it is offering $2 million in grants for students and faculty at nonprofit institutions of higher education to research pipeline safety solutions – more than twice the amount awarded last year. In addition to funding potential transportation solutions, PHMSA offers the grants to expose new engineers and scientists to the technical side of the energy transportation sector, supporting the agency’s recruitment efforts.
“The time is now to start investing in long-term safety innovations and retain a highly skilled, federal workforce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will encourage students to use innovation and explore new ways to envision pipeline safety solutions for our transportation problems.”
Launched in 2013, the CAAP has grown based on previous student accomplishments and university interest. To date, PHMSA has awarded more than $1.5 million to nearly 80 students’ multi-year research projects. This year’s applicants may receive up to $300,000 for their proposed studies. The awards are partially matched by non-federal funding.
“We’re not simply offering grants through the Competitive Academic Agreement Program; we’re demonstrating to engineering and technical students that their disciplines are in demand in the energy pipeline sector,” said PHMSA Acting Administrator Timothy Butters. “PHMSA provides safety oversight for the country’s 2.6-million-mile pipeline network, and we need out-of-the-box thinkers.”
In consultation with other federal and state officials as well as other stakeholders, PHMSA is specifically seeking projects that address technical gaps in the following areas:
Preventing and Mitigating Pipeline Corrosion – What innovative new solutions can be proposed in chemical treatments or materials to prevent or manage on-shore hazardous liquid and/ or natural gas pipeline corrosion?
Developing Locatable Plastic Pipelines – Excavation damage to buried pipelines can be prevented when professionals detect and mark buried utility lines; however, many plastic pipes can go undetected with current above-ground technology. Are there effective ways to add or insert electro/mechanical/metallic material to plastic pipes to make it locatable above-ground? How would you innovate above-ground technology to detect plastic pipes?
Developing Inspection Tools to Quantify Pipe Strength and Toughness – How would you develop tools to accurately quantify pipeline strength and toughness which would allow pipeline operators to better understand and manage risks?
Proposals are evaluated on their scientific merit and quality as well as the feasibility of their management plans, work tasks, budgets and schedules. In the long run, PHMSA intends to adopt the most promising findings into its core research program for further investigation. For more information, potential applicants should read the full grant solicitation on Grants.gov. Users can find the solicitation and announcement by searching with CFDA number 20.724 or Funding Opportunity Number DTPH5615SN0003.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Please visit http://phmsa.dot.govfor more information.
California Community Colleges forges guaranteed transfer agreement with nine historically black colleges and universities
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Beginning fall 2015, California community college transfer students who meet certain academic criteria will be guaranteed admission to nine historically black colleges and universities, thanks to an agreement the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the leaders of the institutions signed at the board’s meeting today.
“The California Community Colleges is working on multiple fronts to open avenues of opportunity for our students,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “This agreement opens a new and streamlined transfer pathway for our students to some of the finest and culturally diverse institutions of higher learning in the United States. I thank our nine partners for working with us to make it possible.”
The nine historically black colleges and universities participating in the agreement are:
A second option to earn guaranteed admission requires transfer students to earn 30 or more CSU or UC transferrable units with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Other advantages conferred to transfer students under the agreement include priority consideration for housing, consideration for transfer scholarships for students with a 3.2 or higher GPA, and pre-admission advising.
For certain majors, students may need to fulfill additional prerequisites and other requirements.
Eight of the participating colleges and universities are private institutions. Lincoln University of Missouri is public, and will offer in-state tuition for California community college transfer students.
Today’s agreement supports a White House initiative, led by Dr. George Cooper, to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality higher education to students.
“California community college students and the nine participating schools will benefit immensely from the agreement,” said Cooper. “The schools will have an even larger pool of gifted students knocking on their doors and California community college students will be guaranteed transfer to four-year institutions with rich histories, traditions and track records of success.”
Historically black colleges and universities were founded to serve the higher education needs of African-American students, though they are open to students of any ethnicity.
These colleges and universities are typically smaller in student size than other schools. Many classes are taught by professors rather than teaching assistants in a nurturing and supportive environment with many opportunities for student leadership development.
Jovon Duke, 22, attended El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. and transferred to Fisk University in 2013 because of its small class sizes and friendly, supportive atmosphere. “Fisk is such a tight-knitted community and Nashville is great. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to take on leadership positions and have made many friends and close relationships with my professors. I love it here,” said Duke. He plans on earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and moving on to either Middle Tennessee State University or Case Western to get a master’s degree in social work.
There are 105 historically black colleges and universities in the country, with most located in the South and East Coast.
Many historically black colleges and universities were founded after the Civil War, after the Morrell Act permitting the development of land grant colleges was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
For more information on today’s agreement and the participating colleges and universities, please visit www.cccco.edu/HBCUTransfer.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/, https://www.facebook.com/CACommColleges, or https://twitter.com/CalCommColleges.
My Brother’s Keeper Task Force: One-Year Progress Report to the President
On February 27, 2014, President Barack Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) and issued a powerful call to action to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people, and often by boys and young men of color in particular. The President’s announcement encouraged candid dialogues around the country and a greater sense of responsibility among community leaders, and young people themselves to put all youth in a position to thrive, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Over the course of the past year, efforts have advanced along three areas of focus based on the goals laid out in the MBK Presidential Memorandum: state and local engagement, private sector action – independent nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate action; and Public Policy review and reform. The report being released today provides an update on all three approaches over the course of a year since the MBK launch. You can find the full report HERE.
State and Local Engagement: The MBK Community Challenge
Since late September 2014, nearly 200 mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the MBK Community Challenge in partnership with more than 2,000 individual community-based allies. These “MBK Communities” are working with leading experts in youth and community development to design and implement cradle-to-college-and-career action plans. Within six months of accepting the Challenge, MBK Communities commit to review local public policy, host action summits, and start implementing their locally tailored action plans to address opportunity gaps. MBK Communities are provided with technical assistance to develop, implement and track plans of action from both federal agencies and independent organizations with related expertise.
The nation’s five largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
Small cities and towns, including Prichard, AL, Berea, OH, Carlisle, PA, Holly Hill, SC, and Ranson, WV.
Cities with some of the highest African American populations, including Detroit, Birmingham and Washington, DC.
Cities with some of the highest Hispanic populations, including San Francisco, Dallas, Miami and Phoenix.
Seventeen Tribal Nations, including the Cherokee, Cheyenne River, Hoonah and Navajo tribal nations.
Private-Sector Action: Business, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Action
Foundations, businesses, and social enterprises have responded to the President’s call to action by taking steps to ensure that communities have the support they need and by providing funding and advice for aligned national initiatives. More than $300 million in grants and in-kind resources have been independently committed already to advance the mission of MBK, including investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms, and school redesign. For example, the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) is coordinating the leaders of 63 of the largest urban school systems in the country in a pledge to change life outcomes by better serving students at every stage of their education; Prudential announced a commitment of $13 million to support technical assistance for MBK Communities as well as impact investments for innovative for-profit and nonprofit social purpose enterprises that eliminate barriers to financial and social mobility; and on Christmas Day 2014, the NBA launched a public service announcement and campaign in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to recruit 25,000 new mentors over the next five years.
Policy: The Federal Response
The MBK Task Force, an interagency working group of representatives of over ten agencies across the Federal government, has encouraged and tracked implementation of the recommendations outlined in the initial 90-day report issued in May. Those efforts have led to greater focus on federal investments that support evidence-based interventions. For example, grant programs, like the Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative and the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, harness federal resources to create clearer pathways to success by helping youth build both work and life skills. Public-private partnerships like Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, School Turnaround AmeriCorpsand 21st Century Conservation Service Corps are working with the Corporation for National and Community Service to engage underserved youth in service that has the potential to transform their lives and the communities they serve. Similarly, the Departments of Education and Justice issued Correctional Education guidance to help to ensure that incarcerated youth have the full protection of existing laws and benefits. The federal government has also advanced its efforts to track quality data for boys and young men of color and their peers.
Through MBK, this Administration will continue to improve transparency and accountability to address persistent opportunity gaps at every level and improve outcomes for all young people to ensure they have the opportunity to succeed.
White House Honors Historically Black Colleges and Universities “Champions of Change”
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 24, the White House will recognize faculty and staff members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as “Champions of Change” who are finding success promoting college completion and success. These leaders have worked with students, families, and policymakers to build pathways to graduation at their respective institutions. The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by actor and E! News Co-Host, Terrence Jenkins, remarks from Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit >www.whitehouse.gov/live< on February 24, at 10:00AM. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit >www.whitehouse.gov/champions<. Follow the conversation at #HBCUchamps.
Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., Auburn Alabama
Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., serves as Director of the Integrative Biosciences PhD Program at Tuskegee University. This program facilitates the progression of talented, motivated students from the collegiate through doctorate level to careers in the professorate and other areas. A second-generation college graduate and the second person in her family to receive a PhD degree, Dr. Alexander is also a collaborator on several federally-funded projects involving graduate and undergraduate education, especially initiatives meant to increase access to education for socioeconomically-deprived students. She also leads programs designed to increase both diversity and America’s competitiveness in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Dr. Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, serves as a Professor of Manufacturing Engineering and Past Chairman of the Manufacturing Engineering Department undergraduate program at Central State University (CSU). Over the past 30 years, he has supported hundreds of CSU Manufacturing Engineers, CSU STEM students, and CSU graduates, leading to their gainful employment in the U.S. and around the world.
Frank A. James, Little Rock, Arkansas
Frank James is a Professor of Mathematics at Philander Smith College a small Methodist institution located in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Philander Smith College from 2006-2013. He also serves as the Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Implementation Grant [2012-2017]. He mentors students interested in becoming Engineers through a 3/2 joint MOU with the University of Arkansas and Philander Smith College.
Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., Bowie, Maryland
Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., currently serves as Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for Bowie State University, one of the oldest historically black universities in the nation and the oldest in the state of Maryland. In his capacity he works with and advises the Provost on student concerns ranging from academic difficulties to retention and graduation efforts. Also, he is tenured faculty in the Child and Adolescent Studies program, preparing graduates to make significant contributions in the global community.
Gregory Goins, Ph.D., Greensboro, North Carolina
Dr. Goinsis an Associate Professor of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University where he organized the Integrative Biomathematical Learning and Empowerment Network for Diversity (iBLEND). The iBLEND initiative represents a partnership between faculty mentors from various science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines working together to retain undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In addition, iBLEND mentors help students prepare for future post-graduate opportunities and careers primarily at the interface between biology and mathematics. Since 2010, over 100 undergraduates from North Carolina A&T State University have completed research internships collaborating with iBLEND.
Herbert W. Thompson, Ph.D., Daytona Beach, Florida
Dr. Herbert W. Thompson is a tenured professor of Biology and Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CSEM) at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Under Dr. Thompson’s leadership, the CSEM, which is organized into five departments offering curricula for Baccalaureate Degrees, recently assessed each program to insure that graduates have the knowledge to solve real world problems. A strong student advocate, Dr. Thompson continues to mentor students and faculty. Over the years he has guided many to careers in medicine, STEM research and STEM education. Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as Chair of the Department of Biology and Project Director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at Bethune-Cookman.
J.K. Haynes, Atlanta, Georgia
J.K. Haynes is the David Packard Professor of Science and Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia. For over 36 years, he has served as a research scientist, professor and administrator at the College. During this time, he has led numerous efforts to enrich the curriculum and to provide engaging extra-curricula experiences for STEM students as well as to increase the number of STEM graduates of the College.
Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., Huntsville, Alabama
Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., currently serves as the Chairperson and an Associate Professor of the Communication Department at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL. In addition to classroom teaching and academic advising, Dr. Elliott serves as coach of Oakwood’s Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) team, a post she’s held for over 17 years. Influenced by her mentoring and advising, the team has won two championships and placed in the top four on five occasions. In 2014, HCASC named her Coach of the Year. Dr. Elliott’s committee posts include the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Rank and Continuous Appointment, and the Dean’s Council.
Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D, Princess Anne, Maryland
Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. serves as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princess Anne, Maryland. UMES is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and 1890 Land Grant Institution dedicated to providing educational programs for aspiring students. Dr. Johnson has centered his professional efforts on identifying, securing, and establishing resources that create awareness and stimulate interests in the vast opportunities that exist in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. He and a team of faculty members have secured over $3,000,000 in federal, state, and industry funds to aid students in completing financial obligations related to collegiate study, gateway course completion, completing intense research projects, and matriculation to graduation. In addition, Dr. Johnson served, from 1999-2009, as the Director of the UMES Summer Transportation Institute, supported through funds provided from the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration. The program assisted over 200 high school students in honing essential academic and social skills necessary for successful entry into collegiate environments and matriculation through STEM disciplines.
Tanya V. Rush, Baltimore, Maryland
Tanya V. Rush, serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Representing the Vice President in various capacities and special projects, her primary responsibilities include oversight for the Division’s fiscal affairs and providing direct oversight to the directors of the University Health Center, Student Center/Student Activities, and the University Chapel. Always willing to serve, Tanya volunteers her time with numerous university committees and worthwhile community activities. But her greatest joy is her service to students, undergraduate and graduate. She is student-centered, dedicated to student development and success – academically, personally and professionally.
Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi and is a child of the civil rights movement. She is a professional actress; motivational speaker, theatre director, national museum exhibit director, tenured professor, and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University. Dean Stewart is a graduate of Jackson State University (B.S.), the University of California at Santa Barbara (M.A.), and Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Theatre. Stewart was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU school of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. She isa New York World Festival Gold Medal Award winner for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.” She holds four honorary doctorates degrees and is a life member of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
Vice President Biden Announces$25 Million in Funding for Cybersecurity Education at HBCUs
Today, Vice President Biden, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and White House Science Advisor John Holdren are traveling to Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia to announce that the Department of Energy will provide a $25 million grant over the next five years to support cybersecurity education. The new grant will support the creation of a new cybersecurity consortium consisting of 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), two national labs, and a k-12 school district.
The Vice President will make the announcement as part of a roundtable discussion with a classroom of cybersecurity leaders and students at Norfolk State University. The visit builds on the President’s announcements on cybersecurity earlier this week, focusing on the critical need to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. job market, while also diversifying the pipeline of talent in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The event and announcement is also an opportunity to highlight the Administration’s ongoing commitment to HBCUs.
Details on the Announcement
As highlighted by the President earlier in the week, the rapid growth of cybercrime is creating a growing need for cybersecurity professionals across a range of industries, from financial services, health care, and retail to the US government itself. By some estimates, the demand for cybersecurity workers is growing 12 times faster than the U.S. job market, and is creating well-paying jobs.
To meet this growing need, the Department of Energy is establishing the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium with funding from the Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program housed in its National Nuclear Security Administration. The Minority Service Institutions Program focuses on building a strong pipeline of talent from minority-serving institutions to DOE labs, with a mix of research collaborations, involvement of DOE scientists in mentoring, teaching and curriculum development, and direct recruitment of students.
With $25M in overall funding over five years, and with the first grants this year, the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium will bring together 13 HBCUs, two DOE labs, and the Charleston County School District with the goal of creating a sustainable pipeline of students focused on cybersecurity issues. The consortium has a number of core attributes:
It is designed as asystem. This allows students that enter through any of the partner schools to have all consortia options available to them, to create career paths and degree options through collaboration between all the partners (labs and schools), and to open the doors to DOE sites and facilities.
It has a range of participating higher education institutions.With Norfolk State University as a the lead, the consortium includes a K-12 school district, a two-year technical college, as well as four-year public and private universities that offer graduate degrees.
Built to change to evolving employer needs:To be successful in the long term, this program is designed to be sufficiently flexible in its organization to reflect the unique regional priorities that Universities have in faculty research and developing STEM disciplines and skills, and DOE site targets for research and critical skill development.
Diversifying the pipeline by working with leading minority-serving institutions:As the President stated in Executive Order 13532, “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in February 2010, America’s HBCUs, for over 150 years, have produced many of the Nation’s leaders in science, business, government, academia, and the military, and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity.
The full list of participating consortium members are:
HBCU Library Alliance Awards Faculty Research Sub Grants to Recipients
Atlanta, GA – December 9, 2014 – The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance has selected eight institutions as recipients of sub grants as part of the Alliance’s larger effort to expand library support for faculty research. This grant funded-initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focuses on improving library services at individual HBCU campuses and developing collaborative approaches to expand HBCU community-wide library support for faculty research.
The sub grants have been awarded to libraries at HBCU institutions that have proposed or are in the midst of model projects that are developing or expanding research support services. These projects will help address an identified gap in HBCU library support for research among faculty and library deans/directors.
The eight HBCU recipients of these sub grants are:
Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library (Georgia)
Fisk University (Tennessee)
Jackson State University (Mississippi)
North Carolina A&T State University
Prairie View A&M State University (Texas)
Savannah State University (Georgia)
Shaw University (North Carolina)
Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge (Louisiana)
The sub grants were awarded based on criteria established by a nine member Faculty/Librarian Advisory Committee (FLAC), and included looking at the effectiveness of each library’s proposed plan in addressing an identified faculty need and the ability of the project to serve as a model for other HBCUs. Each sub grant recipient has four months to complete the project. Final performance and financial reports will be included in the project results documentation. In addition, each library grantee will be required to present a webinar in early 2015 to HBCU Library Alliance members to describe their project and its impact.
“We look forward to seeing the project results, and the subsequent impact they have on faculty research in these eight institutions and the greater HBCU community – whether it’s conducting ongoing literature reviews across a wide variety of sources, managing intellectual property rights and copyright, preserving access to data sets and publications through repositories, or forming partnerships to increase availability of resources,” states Cynthia L. Henderson, Executive Director of the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library at Howard University and Chair of the HBCU Library Alliance Board of Directors.
“These sub grants extend the HBCU Library Alliance’s mission to strengthen member libraries through leadership development, archives preservation and strategic planning and assessment. This effort enables the implementation of innovative programs and increasing engagement with faculty in support for research, with the critical need to replicate effective programs on additional HBCU campuses,” says Sandra Phoenix, HBCU Library Alliance Executive Director.
The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports the collaboration of institutions dedicated to providing resources designed to strengthen the libraries and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their constituents. The purpose of the HBCU Alliance is to ensure excellence in HBCU Libraries and the development, coordination, and promotion of programs and activities to enhance member libraries.
Xavier receives $19.6 million NIH award to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce
NEW ORLEANS (October 22, 2014) – This afternoon Xavier University of Louisiana received a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the national Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative. Xavier will use the grant to expand the already thriving biomedical programs the historically Black university offers its students.
“Xavier is already number one in the nation as the primary undergraduate source of African American Ph.D.s in the life sciences,” said Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University. “Yet, with this grant, we believe we can triple the number of these graduates and increase the number of African American life science Ph.D.s nationally by 10%. We are proud that NIH has named us one of the institutions that it believes can uniquely contribute to this important goal.”
The award is part of a $240 million NIH investment involving more than 10 institutions to develop new approaches to engage student researchers, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, and prepare them to thrive in the NIH-funded workforce. Xavier and fellow awardees will establish a national consortium to train, mentor and encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter into and stay in research careers.
“These awards represent a significant step towards ensuring that NIH’s future biomedical research workforce will reflect the unique perspectives found within the diverse composition of our society,” said Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity.
“Participation in faculty research projects is a major reason for Xavier’s success in graduating STEM [science, technology and engineering] students, many of whom go on to get the Ph.D.,” said Dr. Gene D’Amour, the university’s principal investigator for the grant. “Working with our partner
research universities across the nation, this NIH grant will greatly increase the opportunities for our students to become even more actively engaged in cutting-edge research and to go on to get life science Ph.D.s.”
Xavier will serve as the primary institution for its grant, “Project PATHWAY: Building Integrated Pathways to Independence for Diverse Biomedical Researchers.” It has partnered with Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, the Louisiana State University and its Health Science Center, Tulane University, The University of Wisconsin, Meharry Medical College, George Washington University, Penn State University, the University of Rochester and the University of California San Francisco. Xavier will conduct and oversee the program’s implementation to broaden the interests of students early in their college careers and attract them to a life sciences Ph.D. The primary benefit to the 11 partners is access to Xavier STEM students to participate in their summer research programs and ultimately attract these students to their graduate programs. These students, known as BUILD Scholars, are motivated undergraduate science students with an interest in doing research and pursuing a Ph.D.
“The Laney Graduate School at Emory University is pleased to partner with Xavier University to implement the BUILD Initiative. Our commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion at Emory is being implemented through robust, innovative programming that creates pipelines to increase the number of underrepresented students entering and progressing through doctoral programs in the biomedical sciences. Partnership with Xavier University will undoubtedly benefit ¬ and better ¬ our efforts. A deeper level of engagement with BUILD scholars during their undergraduate experience will create opportunities that we hope will not only attract them to our programs at Emory, but ultimately create and nurture a biomedical workforce that is more representative of the unique perspectives and diversity of our nation,” said Lisa A. Tedesco, Ph.D., Dean, James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies, Emory University.
The BUILD Initiative is expected to include five integrated components:
Tuition scholarships, including stipends, for undergraduate BUILD scholars and possible loan repayment funds for those who pursue a Ph.D.
Training and mentorship experiences for students across a wide range of disciplines in the biomedical sciences;
Salary support for key faculty responsible for research training;
Resources for highly effective mentors to train new mentors; and
Support for an “innovation space” environment for BUILD awardee institutions to develop additional creative and novel approaches to increase the diversity of the student pool that enters the Ph.D. training pathway relevant to biomedical research
“This NIH grant just could not be a more exciting opportunity for Xavier faculty and students to expand our research mentoring and training efforts to now ensure even a greater number of our graduates will pipeline into STEM terminal degree programs and subsequent biomedical research careers,” said Dr. Maryam Foroozesh, Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs at Xavier. “Not only does this award speak to the value that Xavier holds for our nation and the world relative to the effective training of biomedical research leaders but also reflects a deep alignment with Xavier’s commitment to its mission and appreciation of its rich history.”
For information about the BUILD awardees and partners, please visit http://commonfund.nih.gov/diversity/fundedresearch
Today, the Department of Education announced publication of a final rule to strengthen the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, helping more students and families pay for college, and ensuring they have the tools and resources to make informed decisions about financing their educational pursuits. The new regulations will both expand student access to postsecondary education and safeguard taxpayer dollars by reflecting economic and programmatic changes that have occurred since the program was established over 20 years ago.
“The Department’s top priority is to ensure more students can access and successfully complete a postsecondary education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The updated borrowing standards for the PLUS loan program demonstrate our commitment to ensuring families have access to the financing they need to reach their goal, while being good stewards of taxpayer money.”
The final regulations update the definition of “adverse credit history” for PLUS loan applicants, and implement a streamlined application process for borrowers to obtain a PLUS loan, specifically for those with adverse credit histories. Economic conditions have changed considerably in the last 20 years, and this update will ensure the regulations reflect current circumstances.
The Department is also taking action to provide families with clear, customized information about their loan obligations to support their college financing decisions and ensure their loan debt stays manageable. To better ensure families are aware of, fully understand, and comfortable with their loan obligations, the Department is developing a new loan counseling tool that would provide customized information to assist PLUS borrowers. While PLUS borrowers with an adverse credit history determination would be required to complete counseling before their loan could be approved under the Department’s reconsideration process, the tool will be made available to all PLUS loan borrowers.
Finally, to provide more transparency in the PLUS loan program, the Department will also collect and, where appropriate, publish information about the performance of PLUS loans, including default rate information based on credit history characteristics of PLUS loan borrowers and individual institutional default rates.
Prior to the final regulations issued today, the definition of “adverse credit history” under the regulations had not been updated since the Direct Loan program was established in 1994.
The development of the final rule reflects extensive outreach by the Department , including four public hearings across the country to gather feedback and recommendations from students, families, higher education leaders, and community organizations. The negotiated rulemaking committee then held four sessions from February to May, and reached agreement on the definition of adverse credit history under the regulation. These draft provisions were published in the Federal Register as a proposed rule (NPRM) on August 8, and included a 30-day public comment period.
The final rule, which will be published in the Federal Register Thursday, Oct. 23, establishes a threshold debt amount of $2,085, indexed to inflation, below which a potential borrower is considered to not have an adverse credit history.
Other changes include:
Defining terms such as debt “charged off” and “in collection” to more accurately determine whether an applicant has an adverse credit history.
Reducing the time period of a borrower’s credit history that is considered to determine adverse credit history from the last five years to the last two years for charge offs and collections.
Requiring that PLUS Loan applicants who, despite having adverse credit are able to receive a PLUS Loan based on either demonstrating extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an eligible endorser, participate in loan counseling.
Under the “master calendar” provision of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the final regulations are scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2015; however, the Department is designating the final regulations for early implementation under section 484(c)(2) of the HEA. The Department intends to work closely with stakeholders, including our college partners, as they implement the provisions of the new regulation. As current eligibility procedures such as adverse credit history determinations reside with the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, we expect limited impact on current institutional procedures and processes for the packaging of student loans.
The Obama Administration has made historic investments to increases the maximum Pell grant award by $1,000, create the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, and enact effective student loan reforms that eliminated subsidies to banks and reinvested in America’s students and families to make college more affordable. Along with these efforts, today’s actions expand college opportunity and ensure families have the finances they need to succeed in their college pursuits, to help us reach the President’s goal for America lead the world in college graduation.
President Obama’s Agenda for Creating Economic Opportunity for Millennials
* Today, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers released a new report<http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf> that details key characteristics of the Millennial Generation – the largest, most diverse, and most educated generation in our history – and takes an early look at the generation’s adult economic lives and the impact that this Administration’s policies have had on them.
* Last week, the President laid out his vision for continuing to build on that foundation for a strong, durable economy with secure middle class jobs. We’re moving forward again and one generation in particular – Millennials – will shape our economy for decades to come.
* That’s why the President will hold a town hall today and speak directly with Millennials in Los Angeles at Cross Campus, a collaborative workspace and business event venue that brings together a diverse community of freelancers, creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and Venture Capitalist-funded startup teams.
* The President knows that Millennials – better equipped to overcome our challenges than any previous generation – are crucial to continuing our economic growth and creating good jobs that pay good wages, which is why he’s put in place policies to address the challenges their generation faces by:
o Investing in our teachers and schools;
o Making college more affordable and student loan debt more manageable;
o Building on our technology boom;
o Expanding access to health coverage and homeownership, and;
o Providing access to job training and skills programs.
* The President will continue to act with Congress and on his own where he can to build on this progress to expand opportunity for Millennials and all Americans. He’ll continue to pursue commonsense steps that we could take right now to help our economy immediately and over the long-term.
* Today’s report explored 15 key facts about the Millennial Generation:
Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population
Millennials have been shaped by technology
Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work
Millennials have invested in human capital more than previous generations
College-going Millennials are more likely to study social science and applied fields
As college enrollments grow, more students rely on loans to pay for post-secondary education
Millennials are more likely to focus exclusively on studies instead of combining school and work
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance coverage during their young adult years
Millennials will contend with the effects of starting their careers during a historic downturn for years to come
Investments in human capital are likely to have a substantial payoff for Millennials
Working Millennials are staying with their early-career employers longer
Millennial women have more labor market equality than previous generations
Millennials tend to get married later than previous generations
Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than young adults in previous generations
College-educated Millennials have moved into urban areas faster than their less educated peers