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February 4, 1998

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I also ask this Congress to support our efforts to enlist colleges and universities to reach out to disadvantaged children starting in the sixth grade so that they can get the guidance and hope they need so they can know that they, too, will be able to go on to college.

President Bill Clinton
January 27, 1998

Today, President Clinton announces a new initiative to inspire more young people to have high expectations, to stay in school and study hard, and to go to college. The High Hopes initiative is a long-term investment -- starting with $140 million in the FY 99 Budget -- that promotes partnerships between colleges and middle or junior high schools in low-income communities, to help teach students how they should go to college by informing them about college options, academic requirements, costs, and financial aid, and by providing support services -- including tutoring, counseling, and mentoring.

Educating families early on: College Is Within Reach. Families need to know that college is affordable regardless of their income. The President's High Hopes initiative provides children and their families at middle and junior high schools in low-income communities with a 21st Century Scholar certificate, an official, early notification of the amount of their eligibility for Federal college aid.

Providing Children With The Support They Need. To make the hope of a college education a reality, the High Hopes initiative encourages degree-granting colleges to establish partnerships with middle and junior high schools with large concentrations of low-income children. Working with parents, community and religious groups, and businesses, these partnerships provide information about what it means and what it takes to go to college, as well as support services -- such as mentoring, tutoring, college visits, summer programs, after-school activities, and counseling -- to help the children stay on track. The partnerships will help ensure that children have access to the rigorous core courses that prepare them for college and let parents know how they can help their children prepare for college.

Staying With Children Through High School Graduation. This new initiative is flexible, allowing partnerships to design their own efforts based on local needs and resources. But, to ensure effectiveness, the programs must:

  • begin reaching out to children by the 7th grade;
  • continue to help each student through graduation from high school; and,
  • help all students in a class, not just the ones who get the best grades.
Reaching More Than 1 Million Students. The President's Budget calls for a $140 million investment in new High Hopes partnerships in 1999, and an additional $70 million for new partnerships in each of the years 2000 and 2001 (as well as continuation funds for the original partnerships). If each project begins with one sixth or seventh grade class, this would fund partnerships with 2,500 middle and junior high schools. If each project adds an incoming class each year, more than 1 million students would be served over five years.

Widespread Support. Everyone agrees, the High Hopes initaitive is the way to go. More than 300 college presidents, 60 organizations (including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, NAACP, and a variety of other education and religious groups), and 68 members of the House -- Democrats and Republicans -- have endorsed the initiative.

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