Today, Florida College Access Network Executive Director Laurie Meggesin will join 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.

Florida College Access Network (Florida CAN) is committing to join forces with national and regional partners to provide college and career counseling training for Florida school counselors, direct service providers, and mentors. The initiative will focus on training to build a college-going culture for all students; college, career, and academic planning; and financial aid and college applications. Trainees will then be better prepared to provide college and career readiness assistance to the students and families they serve. The initiative is anticipated to increase college enrollment rates, contributing to Florida CAN’s Big Goal for at least 60% of all working-age Floridians to hold high-quality, postsecondary degrees or credentials by the year 2025.

“School counselors, as well as college access professionals and mentors, are uniquely poised to impact the futures of the students they serve—they can make all the difference for first generation students to continue their educations beyond high school,” said Meggesin.  “We are answering the White House’s call to action by pledging to ensure that Florida’s school counselors have access to this important training and the tools to boost college enrollments for the students they serve.”

Today’s 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 will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.  Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include 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.

For a live stream of the College Opportunity Summit, visit

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