NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

BROOKLYN, New York – Today, President and Dean of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Katepalli Raju Sreenivasan 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 President Obama’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. 

As most STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-focused schools, increasing the student retention at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering is a major priority.  The goal for the next 10 years is to increase the retention rate overall by 20 percent and by 30 percent for women and other underrepresented STEM students. NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering will use as part of its model the Higher Education Opportunity Program, which has a 99 percent retention and success rate at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering is committed to providing high-quality training for 500 additional teachers over the next 10 years—which, in turn, will have a cumulative educational footprint of 22,500 students over the first five years.

“In order to reach the greatest number of students and equip them with skills needed to pursue a STEM education, we need to partner with teachers and the New York Department of Education to expand and intensify our teacher training programs,” said Dr. Sreenivasan. “The cornerstone to these improvements is student support, which includes mentorship, tutoring, social support, and team building, besides the intellectual challenge of exciting curriculum.”

Since 2003, the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering has received approximately $10.2 million in nine National Science Foundation grants for K-12 STEM education projects. NSF is their primary federal support source. In addition, from philanthropic sources and city and state support, the school has raised an additional
$4.2 million. Furthermore, teachers reported changes in letter grades for 3,200 participating students: 70.8 percent saw their science, math, and overall grades improve half or one full letter grade between 2010 and 2012.

Today’s event 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.