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Miami Dade College Becomes Charter Member of the College Boards’s CollegeKeys Compact™

MDC Students

Miami, September 12, 2008 - Miami Dade College (MDC) has become a charter member of the College Board’s CollegeKeys Compact™.  The Compact seeks to support students from low-income families as they work toward preparing for, getting into and succeeding in college.  MDC is one of the first 500 institutions to join this bold call to action to U.S. schools and colleges issued by the College Board just seven months ago.

In signing the Compact, MDC commits to the Compact inventory and action plan. It also affirms that all students must have the support they need to succeed in college and graduate.
    
“Serving this population has always been a cornerstone of Miami Dade College,” said MDC President Dr. Eduardo Padrón. “We have a long history of helping all students succeed.”

As part of the CollegeKeys™ initiative, MDC has entered into a contract with the College Board to actively pursue ways and dedicate resources to helping students get into and excel in college.  Some ideas include creating partnerships to provide more mentors for young people, helping administrators, counselors, and teachers understand the challenges faced by students who come from low-income families or are first in their families to attend college, and providing additional tutoring and supplemental instruction, as well as culturally-relevant programs. Higher education partners are encouraged to support students by assisting financial needs, improving course alignment and transferring agreements between two and four-year campuses.

“Adding Miami Dade College to the CollegeKeys Compact roster is very significant for this important initiative, which works to improve competence and confidence among low-income students,” said Ronald Williams, the College Board vice president who is heading up the implementation of the CollegeKeys initiative.

Miami Dade College, a state-supported college with seven campuses and an two centers, serves more than 165,000 students. The majority of students come from traditionally under-represented groups which includes 67% Hispanic and 20% African-American.  About 51% of the students are the first in their family to attend college with 57% low income (living below the poverty line).  In addition, about 75% of the students are under-prepared for college level work.  

About the CollegeKeys Compact
The Compact is the result of a report by a College Board Trustees task force which found that nearly one-half of all college-qualified low- and moderate-income high school graduates do not enroll in a four-year college program because of a combination of poor preparation, low expectations and financial barriers.  The report makes clear the need for a focused effort to ensure more opportunities for low-income students to attend and then succeed in college.  Citing evidence that high-achieving students from low-income families have about the same chance of attending college as low achievers from wealthier families, the report points to an array of obstacles blocking low-income students from access to campus and then from success once they are enrolled.  In addition to poor preparation for the emotional and academic rigors of higher education, students face challenges in getting the aid necessary to fund their education.  The admissions and financial aid processes present “a lot of hoops to jump through,” processes that can intimidate and confuse the inexperienced, the task force reported.  Once on campus, culture shock and difficulties transferring from two- to four-year campuses often present more obstacles.

The College Board:  Connecting Students to College Success
The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity.  Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 5,400 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations.  Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college admission, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning.  Among its best known programs are the SAT®, the PSAT/NMSQT®, and the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®).  The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities, and concerns.

The College Board contact: Sheila Jamison, 212-713-8052, sjamison@collegeboard.org.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359, tcarroll@mdc.edu, media specialist




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