T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E

Opening The Doors To College And Economic Opportunity For All Americans

Help Site Map Text Only

The Briefing Room

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 10, 2000


Today, President Clinton will address the graduating Class of 2000 at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He will release a new report by the U.S. Department of Education, Expanding College Opportunity: More Access, Greater Achievement, Higher Expectations. The report describes the importance of college and trade school educations, the Clinton-Gore Administration's initiatives to establish universal access to college, and the record-setting college enrollment rate. The President will also call on Congress to build on this progress by enacting his education proposals and not sacrificing federal investments in education for large tax cuts.

TODAY'S REPORT DETAILS INCREASES IN COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY. College, trade school, and lifelong learning promotes good citizenship, enriched lives, and economic prosperity. According to evidence in today's report:

  • Americans are attending college in higher numbers and at higher rates than ever before:
  • Sixty-six percent of 1998 high school graduates enrolled immediately in college, compared to 60 percent in 1990.
  • Thirty-two percent of 25- to 29-year-olds had earned a bachelor's or higher degree in 1999, up from 27 percent in 1990. In particular, white and black women have seen their college opportunities grow.
  • SAT scores have risen over the past decade, especially in math, with a larger, more diverse group of test-takers.
  • Fifty percent of adults participated in formal learning in the year prior to a 1999 survey, up from 38 percent in 1991.
  • The economic benefits of college continue to grow. The increasing importance of education to our society's prosperity underscores the need to grow our national investment in education, not sacrifice it to a tax cut.
  • College graduates can expect to earn $600,000 more over a lifetime than high school graduates.
  • Young men with a bachelor's degree earned 150 percent the salary of their peers with no more than a high school diploma-and young women with a college degree earned twice as much as high school graduates.
  • An investment in college earns a 12 percent return, nearly twice the historical average of the stock market.

COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY HAS EXPANDED UNDER THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION. President Clinton and Vice President Gore's commitment to opening the doors of college to all Americans has more than doubled student aid-the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill-and contributed to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. The Clinton-Gore approach is three-pronged:


  • The Hope Scholarship tax credit provides up to $1,500 in tax relief for the first two years of college. The Hope Scholarship pays nearly all of the tuition and fees at an average community college, making college universally affordable. Proposed by President Clinton in 1996 and enacted in 1997, the Hope Scholarship saved 2.6 million families a total of $2.6 billion in its first year, 1998.
  • The Lifetime Learning tax credit provides up to $1,000 in tax relief for juniors and seniors, graduate students, and adults seeking job training. The Lifetime Learning credit was also proposed by President Clinton in 1996 and enacted in 1997 in recognition of the growing importance of continuing education and training over a lifetime. In 1999, 10 million families are expected to benefit from the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credit.
  • Pell Grant scholarships now provide up to $3,300 to each of 3.8 million low-income students, or $1,000 more than in 1993. Maximum Pell grants increased by only $630 during 12 years of Reagan-Bush Administrations.


  • The Direct Student Loan program delivers loans to five million students at 1200 schools more quickly, simply, and cheaply. Because it eliminates subsidies for banks, it has saved taxpayers over $4 billion so far. It provides high-quality customer service, competing successfully to hold one-third of one of the largest financial markets in the nation and improving service for all students and schools through competition.
  • Lower interest rates and fees-some paid for by savings from Direct Lending-have saved students $9 billion.
  • More flexible repayment terms, including allowing graduates to repay loans as a share of income, to help students manage debt, pursue further education without fear of defaulting, and enter public service.


  • The GEAR UP initiative raises expectations and creates college opportunities for over 450,000 disadvantaged children. Proposed by President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1998 and enacted that same year, GEAR UP supports mentoring, academic support, and college planning through partnerships between high-poverty middle schools, universities, and community organizations.
  • AmeriCorps has allowed 250,000 Americans to earn $400 million for college while serving their communities.
  • The TRIO program to help low-income, first-generation students succeed in college has increased by two-thirds since 1993, to $645 million.
  • The School-to-Work Opportunities Act has provided seed money to help every state broaden young people's career options, make learning more relevant, and promote successful transitions to college and careers.
  • Youth Opportunity grants make possible comprehensive employment and training assistance to 75,000 out-of-school youth in high-poverty communities.


  • $30 Billion College Opportunity Tax Cut to make college more affordable and accessible. The College Opportunity Tax Cut would give families the option of a tax deduction or a 28 percent credit for up to $10,000 in tuition, when fully phased in after 2002, providing up to $2,800 in tax relief per family for college and job training.
  • $25 Billion in School Modernization Bonds to help build and modernize 6,000 schools. Districts urgently need help accommodating record enrollments and repairing crumbling buildings. Because interest on the bonds would be paid by federal tax credits, the bonds allow districts to borrow interest-free.
  • College Completion Challenge Grants to prevent college drop-outs through a comprehensive approach including pre-freshman summer programs, support services and scholarships for students. This $35 million initiative will help nearly 18,000 students succeed in college. Nearly 40 percent of students that go on to post-secondary school drop out before they get a certificate or a degree, and the problem is especially acute for minorities.
  • The Dual Degree initiative to increase opportunities for minority students to earn advanced degrees.

FINALLY, THE PRESIDENT WILL DEMAND CONGRESS TO PASS A BUDGET THAT INVESTS IN OUR SCHOOLS AND DEMANDS MORE FROM THEM. In February, the Clinton-Gore Administration sent the Congress a balanced and responsible budget that made investments in key educational initiatives to raise standards, increase accountability, and invest in what works. Congressional Republicans have passed a budget plan built on misguided priorities and insufficient resources. To pay for risky and irresponsible tax cuts, the Congressional Republican budget would cut investments in domestic priorities $29 billion below the President's level, an average cut of 9 percent. The budget plan passed on a party-line vote by the U.S. House of Representatives appropriations committee:

  • Denies nearly 650,000 low-income middle-school students the extra college preparation they need through the GEAR UP initiative. The House committee freezes GEAR UP at this year's level, denying the President's $325 million request. Mentoring and early college preparation are key strategies to help at-risk youth succeed in college.
  • Cuts Youth Opportunity Grants from $250 million to $175 million. The President requested $375 million to provide comprehensive employment and training assistance to 75,000 out-of-school youth in high poverty areas.
  • Denies help to 5,000 schools to make urgently needed repairs. The House appropriation ignores the President's $1.3 billion plan to help states and localities make $6.5 billion in emergency repairs to crumbling schools.
  • Fails to create smaller classes for as many as 2.9 million young children. The House appropriation backs away from the bipartisan agreement to hire 100,000 new teachers and jeopardizes the federal commitment to continue support for the 29,000 teachers already hired. Research shows that small classes in the early grades help students master the basics and raise student achievement.
  • Fails to improve teacher quality by ignoring the President's request for $1 billion for standards-based professional development, recruitment, peer review programs, quality awards, and professional development for early childhood educators. Research shows that teacher quality is a key indicator of student performance.
  • Refuses as many as 1.6 million children extended learning opportunities in safe, drug-free environments. The House committee provides only $600 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Extended learning time is an essential strategy to help all students master challenging academic material. The President's $1 billion request would provide all students in low-performing schools the opportunity to reach high standards.
  • Fails to narrow the digital divide through Community Technology Centers. The House freezes funding at $32.5 million, $67.5 million below the President, eliminating support for up to 1,000 centers in high-poverty areas.
  • Denies hundreds of thousands of teachers training in modern learning technologies. The House provides only $85 million of the President's $150 million request for Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology.
  • Fails to strengthen accountability by eliminating the Title I Accountability Fund, for which President Clinton requested $250 million. States and localities use this funding to intervene in low-performing schools to turn them around and provide greater public school choice for their students.
  • Denies more than 260,000 disadvantaged students Title I services to help them learn the basics and reach high standards. Title I is the cornerstone of state and local efforts to help all students learn challenging academic material.

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House
White House for Kids | White House History
White House Tours | Help | Text Only

Privacy Statement