Chancellor Kirwan Joins White House Summit on Expanding College Access for Low-Income Youth

White House Recognizes USM for Ongoing Commitments to Access and Degree Completion

Adelphi, Md. (Jan. 16, 2014) -- University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan was among the university chancellors and presidents who participated in today's White House summit to promote access to higher education for students from low-income families.

Universities, university systems, foundations and other non-profit groups throughout the United States delivered commitments that are designed to make degree-completion more attainable for low-income students. The White House publication "Commitments to Action on College Opportunity" recognizes several important USM initiatives.

● "The University System of Maryland (USM) will seek to expand the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, created in partnership with Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools and Montgomery College. ACES identifies low-income students with college potential in the 10th grade, provides continuous academic coaching and support from 11th grade through a community college degree, awards scholarships, and provides pathways through a baccalaureate program at a USM institution. The first cohort of 1,000 has been identified in one county with expansion planned across the state.

Building on Existing Efforts: The University System of Maryland has developed Way2GoMaryland, an outreach campaign that provides information and engagement in communities regarding access to its institutions. The program is a major component of USM's efforts to increase the college preparation, participation, retention, and graduation rates of students statewide. In addition, the STEM Transfer Success Initiative of UMBC (the University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and four community colleges addresses the collaboration required for successful student transfer from 2 to 4 year STEM programs: institutional partnerships, dissemination of principles and practice, and curricular alignment. A STEM Toolkit product will compile all components and resources developed in the project."

● The report also notes the USM's launch in 2006 of a system-wide course redesign initiative. Redesigns have included learning labs and studios and technology enhanced hybrid courses. "These redesigns are sustainable solutions for expediting student progression through developmental course work to credit-bearing course work," the White House notes.

During an interview with the Washington Post, Chancellor Kirwan praised President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their leadership in advancing access to higher education and degree completion.

"This is a personal top priority of mine," Kirwan told the newspaper. "I am thrilled that the president and, to her credit, the president's wife, have kind of made this a signature initiative for the remainder of his administration."

A detailed summary of the event, with links to a White House report on increasing opportunity for low-income students and a summary of commitments from universities and other organizations around the U.S., can be found at






Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719