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AAPT Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

College Park, MD, December 4, 2014 — Today, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), represented by Executive Office, Beth A. Cunningham, joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

AAPT has made a commitment to expand its current faculty development workshop series to reach 900 new four-year college and university faculty members in the next five years who will impact more than 100,000 STEM college students each year.  Read the full commitment and plan of action.

"AAPT fully supports this initiative through continuation and enhancement of our work within physics education community to reach a diverse and expanding group of students, strengthening the level of physics education, and creating a scientifically informed workforce," said Beth Cunningham.

Participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The President announced new steps his Administration is taking to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.  Today’s event was the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and included a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.  Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

About AAPT
The AAPT is the premier national organization and authority on physics and physical science education — with members in more than 70 countries worldwide. Our mission is to advance the greater good through physics education. We provide our members with many opportunities for professional development, communication, and student enrichment. We serve the larger community through a variety of programs and publications. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is head- quartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.

For more information: Contact Marilyn Gardner, Director of Communications, mgardner@aapt.org, (301)209-3306, (301)209-0845 (Fax)