Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted out a picture of himself on Friday wearing a Yale hoodie, which he said was done to promote first lady Michelle Obama’s new higher education initiative, called Reach Higher.
“Glad @FLOTUS is making the case to #ReachHigher,” Kerry tweeted. “Wear my @Yale hoodie on the plane in support of #highered.”
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) May 2, 2014
Kerry’s support for higher education goes beyond his Yale pedigree. Just this week, it was revealed that the State Department is seeking to tutor its employees to help them better prepare for congressional hearings.
Kerry himself may need a little brushing up on that issue. On Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed him to testify on the Benghazi attacks, after saying the department has shown a “disturbing disregard for its legal obligations to Congress.”
The first lady on Friday announced her Reach Higher initiative, a program that she hopes will “inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.”
According to the White House description of the program, “a high school diploma just isn’t enough” in today’s economy.
The initiative will specifically try to expose more students to college opportunities, explain financial aid that’s available, and supporting “academic planning” and counselors who can steer kids toward college.
The rising costs of college tuition has become a topic of growing interest for both parents and policymakers in Washington. Some believe that the easy access to federal loans is a key driver in those ballooning costs.
Earlier this week, the American Action Forum released a study that said regulations are another driver of these costs. The study said millions of hours are spent each year filling out financial aid forms required by the Department of Education, and said regulations overall have forced colleges to hire more administrative employees, which increases tuition costs.
The study added that there was a nearly one-to-one relationship between increased administrative staff and increased tuition rates.
In a Friday blog post, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that this fall, non-white students will be a majority of college attendees. But he said more needs to be done to ensure minority students can have success.
“The need for equitable opportunities has always been pressing – but is even more so as we project that this fall, America’s public school students will for the first time be mostly nonwhite,” he said. “We are working hard to ensure stronger opportunities – but we have a long way to go.”