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Biden-Harris Administration to Create New National Recognition Program for Institutions that Increase Economic Mobility 

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced at the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Attaining College Excellence and Equity Summit the release of a Request for Information (RFI) to develop a new Postsecondary Student Success Recognition Program that will uplift institutions of higher education that support all students to complete affordable credentials of value that prepare them for success. Members of the public will have 30 days to submit suggestions to the Department about this new annual recognition program. 

“Imagine a world where schools with the most Pell Grant recipients are ranked highest in U.S. News and World Report, where ‘prestige’ is defined by preparing graduates well to enter the workforce and lead fulfilling lives and careers—sometimes right in their own communities. Imagine universities raising the bar for access and equity becoming household names. This award seeks to make that world possible,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today in his remarks. “Instead of giving schools high marks for the number of students they turn down, we want to recognize schools doing the most to lift students up.”  

The Department is requesting insights from the field to better understand institutions’ efforts to promote student success and economic mobility to help evaluate and select institutions to receive the recognition. This includes information about which metrics the Department should use for eligibility and selection for the award, how institutions use data to drive success efforts, how institutions can demonstrate an intentional, scaled, and sustainable commitment to supporting student success, and how institutions evaluate the effectiveness of their student success and economic mobility strategies and policies. For this recognition program, the Department aims to promote a more inclusive definition of student success that includes providing access to an affordable education including to underserved populations, supporting students through to completion of credentials of value, and helping students navigate to career pathways that improve their lives through economic opportunity and mobility.  

The Department will release an application later this year which will allow eligible institutions the opportunity to submit additional quantitative data and qualitative information about how they use data and evidence-based practices as part of an intentional, campus-wide strategy to ensure all students are earning credentials of value, including underrepresented students. The Department currently plans to announce the award in early 2025.  

The RFI and additional information on submitting comments can be found here.

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