HARRY S. TRUMAN
For eight years, the Obama Administration placed community colleges in the forefront of discussions on workforce development,
the nation’s economy and college affordability. For the first time in recent history, an administration shined a spotlight on the
valuable contribution that community colleges make to the nation in developing America's workforce and reaching our educational goals. On October 5, 2010, Dr. Jill Biden served as chair of the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges.
Approximately 100 community college leaders were in attendance, and campuses across the nation streamed the event.
A key tenet of the Obama Administration’s education agenda focused on tooling and retooling the workforce. Since 2011, the U.S.
Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program has helped
two-year colleges to build industry-aligned programs in manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, energy, transportation
and other industries. Through TAACCCT, nearly 2,600 programs at community colleges have been developed or redesigned, and
more adults are now in family-supporting jobs. The administration also supported expanded access to apprenticeships. In 2015,
$175 million in apprenticeship grants went to 46 organizations, institutions and businesses pledging to train workers.
The Obama Administration also pushed community colleges to increase student success. In 2010, the administration called for
community colleges to graduate an additional 5 million students by 2020. It was part of a bigger goal to make America once
again lead the world in degree attainment. President Obama issued the charge, and community colleges have responded.
Through strategic initiatives and innovative thinking, graduation rates are up at colleges across the country.
Understanding that cost is a barrier to higher education for many, in 2015 the Obama Administration proposed a bold initiative:
America’s College Promise. It would guarantee tuition-free community college for responsible students. Out of this proposal
came the College Promise Campaign and HeadsUp America, which have brought together key leaders from across sectors,
charted promising practices and models currently implementing free community college, and built awareness of College Promise
programs across the nation. In addition, the administration increased the Pell Grant program award maximum, and secured
language that the Pell Grant maximum would increase over a number of years.
Higher education policies during the Obama Administration seemed to all be aimed at protecting and supporting students and
their families. Work was done to improve campus diversity and inclusion. The Federal Application for Federal Student Aid was
simplified. The rulebook on college sexual assaults was rewritten. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals allowed more immigrants
to get an education. The American Opportunity Tax Credit helped parents and students cover a portion of their college costs.
The American Association of Community Colleges thanks the Obama Administration for recognizing the important role community colleges play and for helping to advance their mission.
Dr. Judith S. Eaton has served as president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) since 1997, but
she’s been advocating for quality education for most of her career.
Under her leadership, CHEA has emerged as a major voice in discussions of higher education and accreditation. As the
only organization focused solely on accreditation, CHEA serves as a comprehensive source of information on accreditation and as an effective representative of member institutions. Now in its 20th year, CHEA has established itself as a
useful and valued advocate for accreditation, an organization on which people can rely and trust, both nationally and
And CHEA’s future looks bright. Eaton hopes the organization can provide strong leadership for change and innovation
in accreditation—open to new, creative and dynamic approaches, yet dedicated to preserving accreditation’s core
strengths: peer review and the centrality of academics judging quality.
“We are focused on the future of accreditation and this will require a willingness to take risks, to experiment and to be
flexible—all in service to students and society,” Eaton says.
Prior to her work at CHEA, Eaton served as the first permanent chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, where she was responsible for leadership and coordination of 32 institutions serving more than 162,000 students
statewide. At the time, MnSCU was a newly merged system of higher education. Eaton took the lead on creating a
strategic vision for the system and consolidating community and technical colleges. She empowered presidents by
shifting significant authority to the colleges and universities, and she conceptualized the MnSCU Electronic Academy,
which advanced the use of technology in learning.
Previously, Eaton served as president of the Council for Aid to Education. In the 1980s, she was president of the
Community College of Philadelphia. There she fostered a climate of growth and cooperation. She worked to improve
the state funding structure and establish the college’s foundation.
Eaton also has been president of Community College of Southern Nevada, and served as vice president of the American Council on Education. She’s held full- and part-time teaching positions at Columbia University, the University of
Michigan and Wayne State University.