Building Blocks to 2020


President Obama has set an ambitious goal of making the United States first in the world in college completion by 2020. Reaching that threshold requires immediate and bold national effort. 

Private, nonprofit higher education welcomes this challenge and pledges an even greater commitment to help all Americans who can benefit from a higher education realize the opportunity to enroll in college and complete their degrees. This website features hundreds of programs at private colleges and universities nationally to expand access to college and ensure degree completion. 

Officially launched in September 2010, NAICU continues to gather and post new examples of private college initiatives to enhance access and success for our students. We've also built a collection of videos on YouTube about going to and staying in college.

The first two-year progress report was issued in early 2012. The update for 2014 can be found immediately below, titled "White House Summit on College Opportunity".  Every two years new updates will be conducted on the initiative that will share progress being made or new programs and commitments launched.  The updates will be posted to this web site and contain more detailed information about participants and their specific efforts.     

White House Summit on College Opportunity

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama headlined a White House Summit on College Opportunity in January 2014 wih more than 140 college presidents, philanthropists and business leaders in attendance.  The meeting focused on how to increase college attainment among low-income students, while acquiring and promoting some 140 fresh commitments for new programmatic efforts from colleges and others groups. 

The commitments were focused in four areas:

  • Connecting more low-income students to the college that is right for them and ensuring that more students graduate.
  • Increasing the pool of students preparing for college through early intervention efforts.
  • Leveling the playing field in college advising and test preparation.
  • Seeking breakthroughs in remedial education.

Nearly 60 NAICU members attended the event and their institutional pledges were included in the compendium released by the White House: Commitments to Action on College OpportunityNAICU committed to compiling and disseminating the ideas coming from the private, nonprofit colleges and universities attending the Summit.  These pledges are included among the list of programs and initiatives catalogued in NAICU’s Building Blocks to 2020 initiative.

NAICU, CIC Unveil Building Blocks to 2020 Website

September 23, 2010

NAICU and CIC have unveiled the Building Blocks to 2020 website to highlight and support efforts by nonprofit private colleges and universities to increase the number of at-risk students they enroll, and to boost the retention and graduation rates of various student populations.

"Yes We Must" Summit Warns of Growing Crisis in Higher Education

Pine Manor College Web Site

March 29, 2010

A coalition of private colleges from across the U.S. warned of a growing crisis in higher education during the first "Yes We Must" Summit held in Boston.  College officials expressed concern about the country's ability to regain global leadership in college attainment unless lawmakers and the philanthropic community significantly increase support for small colleges and universities that are currently struggling to give access to new populations of college students.