“Back-to-school season is a time of possibility and promise for students, parents and families, and educators alike. To all the school leaders working to ensure your campuses can remain safely open for in-person learning throughout this new academic year, all of us in the Biden-Harris administration appreciate your dedication in making in-person learning happen. To all the teachers preparing your classrooms and helping to connect students and families with resources to promote their health and wellness, thank you. In this administration, you will always have strong champions. To all the students heading back to in-person learning at school or college, excited about the year ahead, we believe your potential is without limits. We will continue to invest in your academic growth and support your wellbeing in schools that are healthy, safe, and inclusive places to thrive. To all the parents and caregivers, we know you want the very best for your children, and we will continue to provide supports to help schools mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe, in-person instruction all year long. I’m confident that with the support of the American Rescue Plan and other federal resources, we can keep all our children, all across the country, safe, healthy, and learning on the road to success. Together, we will make this school year one of our best yet.”
By: Kaitlin Thach, Intern, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Communication and Outreach
“The main function of an academic advisor is to bring holistic support to students as they navigate their higher education to post grad journey.”
Universities and higher education institutions nationwide provide academic advising for both undergraduate and graduate students. This principal academic resource can go underutilized as students often consider advising as a resource only when they are frantic with worry when they realize that they have little time to sign up for classes.
For many students in higher education, internships are an entryway into the workforce, offering them an opportunity to work in their field of choice and gain first-hand insight into a potential career field without long-term commitment. While time in higher education is an important period for students to grow, meet new people and experience life from a different perspective, it is ultimately about preparing for a future career path. Although internships can improve a graduate’s qualifications when searching for employment, there are existing inequities that prevent students from obtaining an internship in the first place.
By: Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid
For many, summer is a time for family trips and backyard BBQs, but it is not all fun and games. Before we know it, many students will be rushing to complete summer assignments before heading back to school. Here at Federal Student Aid (FSA), we have had a major “summer school” assignment of our own: we have been working hard to launch a new website that helps financial aid professionals at colleges and career schools prepare for the upcoming school year.
By: Amy Loyd, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Our nation’s future depends upon an educated and skilled workforce—especially as economic mobility is in decline and the world of work is rapidly shifting. The preparation of young people through career and college pathways is a powerful, evidence- and research-based approach to provide students with the education and experience they need and deserve to participate in our democracy and thrive in our economy. In a recent “Pathways in Action” webinar, we heard from leading experts whose work centers on young people and employers within an education-to-employment system. These experts represent several key stakeholders who are central to this work, including high schools, community colleges, workforce development, nonprofits, chambers of commerce, business and industry, and philanthropy. They also represent exemplars of cross-sector partnerships that span our nation, from California to Boston, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and in Dallas. In this dynamic discussion, these experts shared how they engage with diverse stakeholders to drive collaboration and build systems that support all students to earn postsecondary credentials and fulfill their endless potential.
One of the most critical challenges illuminated by the recent period of emergency remote learning has been providing access to reliable, high-speed internet and connected devices to facilitate everywhere, all-the-time learning. Data clearly show the lack of these essential technologies impact communities of color and low-income communities to a disproportionate extent. As schools recover from the pandemic, several federal agencies and the Office of Educational Technology (OET) are stepping up to provide resources to close the digital divide.
This is our moment to truly reimagine education. This is our moment to lift our students, our education system, and our country to a level never before seen. As the great Congressman Lewis said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
-Secretary Cardona’s Vision for Education in America (2022)
Imagine a high school in which every single student is energized, excited, and engaged in powerful learning that connects them to their communities, nurtures their career aspirations, and provides them with a head start on college. These students are thriving in rigorous academics, earning several college credits before graduating from high school—including their first college math and English classes, and two classes connected to their possible future careers. These students, along with their families, receive personalized and ongoing career and college advising and navigation supports so that they make informed decisions about the classes they take, the pathways they pursue, and the goals they set for their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved to all of us just how important access to childcare and early childhood education is not only for children, but for parents and caretakers. I know I felt that tension, personally, as I too juggled childcare responsibilities for my daughter and work at the beginning of the pandemic. Eventually, I was able to enroll her in a universal pre-K program. However, due to pandemic policies, that was only four hours per day, and balancing work, virtual school, and the need for additional childcare was a complicated mix.
As one of the first recipients in Maine of a Pell Grant through the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, I cherish these opportunities to represent education’s potential for rehabilitating the imprisoned. My education while incarcerated and my release to the “real world” holds perspective which I offer gratefully to provide more insight on this topic. Transitioning back to normal living has had its challenges, but I’m no stranger to life’s obstacles.
By: Richard Cordray, Chief, U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid
Ten years ago this week, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that established guiding principles to protect veterans, service members, and their families who pursue higher education. These are known formally as the Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members. To apply these principles, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) works with the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to ensure colleges and career schools provide quality educational opportunities to military-connected students.
My name is Jessica Louise Henry. I am a 39-year-old woman born and raised in Detroit. After foster care, juvenile detention centers, teen pregnancy, three rehabs, several therapists, eight jail terms, and two prison bids, my life had become scattered. I have a visual of cards spread haphazardly across the floor with many unanswered “whys” that have piled up throughout my life.