ED Proposes College Social Mobility Award

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U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is introducing a new initiative aimed at recognizing and supporting colleges and universities that prioritize student success and economic mobility. Announced at the Attaining College Excellence and Equity Advising Summit on Wednesday, the Postsecondary Student Success Recognition Program falls within the department’s Raise the Bar initiative with the goal of boosting college completion rates and ensuring workforce preparedness.

“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,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said at the summit. “Imagine universities raising the bar for access and equity becoming household names. This award seeks to make that world possible. 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 program’s development includes soliciting input from the public, inviting suggestions on eligibility metrics, data-driven strategies, and sustained commitment to student well-being. This collaborative approach ensures diverse perspectives shape the program’s framework, promoting a more holistic understanding of student success, particularly as it relates to affordable education access to underserved populations.

The department plans to open an application for the award later this year that will examine institutional data and strategies regarding student access and success. The award is planned to officially launch in early 2025.