NOVA Recognized in DoE Report on Increasing Diversity in Higher Education

NOVA President Kress Delivered Remarks in Report Launch Event Alongside National Education Leaders

October 25, 2023

White House Domestic Policy Council Director Neera Tanden, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and college and university leaders met Thursday, September 28th for an event highlighting the release of the Department of Education’s report, “Strategies for Increasing Diversity and Opportunity in Higher Education.” The report bolsters the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing diversity and opportunity in higher education. NOVA was the only community college represented in this important discussion.

Speakers included:   

  • Gene Block, Chancellor, University of California, Los Angeles  
  • Chris Eisgruber, President, Princeton University   
  • Anne M. Kress, President of NOVA
  • Pat McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University   
  • Javier Reyes, President, University of Massachusetts Amherst  
  • David Wilson, President, Morgan State University   

These national college leaders shared their successful work from their respective institutions regarding key practices in admissions, targeted recruitment and pathways, financial aid and student success completion that have contributed to the diversity of their campus community, including socioeconomic and racial diversity.

“The open door that community colleges like NOVA provide across our country is really a symbol of welcome, belonging and inclusion that leads students from that open door of opportunity to true success,” said NOVA President Anne M. Kress. “NOVA is committed to providing equitable access to affordable and exceptional higher education and workforce programs.”

“Equity and opportunity is ground one for us at NOVA,” continued Kress. “We are committed to inclusive excellence.”

As most community colleges are, NOVA is an open-access institution. It is home to more than 70,000 students, of which over 60 percent are from minority backgrounds and culture. The conversation also touched on NOVA’s commitment to achieving excellence in transfer pathways. The college has guaranteed admissions pathways to 40 colleges and universities. The award-winning ADVANCE program with George Mason University makes transferring from NOVA to Mason seamless, saving students time and money. To date, 92 percent of ADVANCE students finish their bachelor’s degree at Mason less than two years after graduating from NOVA.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona noted in close, “It is a real testament to the fact that when we listen to one another and learn from one another, our whole country grows.”

The Department of Education’s new report offers insight into how ‘diverse college campuses can provide experiences that increase critical thinking, civic engagement, leadership skills and cross-racial interaction for all students.’ This allows students from all backgrounds the chance to pursue and achieve the benefits of higher education, such as economic and social mobility.

The report relays strategies to promote greater access to educational opportunities for underserved students. In some areas, selective schools could gain insights from leading under-resourced institutions like community colleges, regional colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Speakers encouraged educators to focus on recruitment, admission, financial aid, completion and climate – as well as state funding. It also offered insights into ‘Transfer and Community College Partnerships,’ like ADVANCE. Community college students nationally make up 35 percent of all undergraduates nationwide. Nearly 80 percent of these express a desire to transfer to a four-year institution, but only 14 percent actually transfer and successfully earn their bachelor’s degree. Specifically noting NOVA in the report, ‘successful transfer programs demonstrate that leadership and providing the necessary resources can significantly increase the number of students transferring from a two-year to a four-year program, increasing educational opportunity for socioeconomically and racially diverse students.’

Watch the recording of this important conversation on YouTube. Read the full report. For media questions regarding the report for the Department of Education, please contact For media questions regarding NOVA, please contact Hoang Nguyen, associate director of external communications at For federal relations questions, please contact Tykesha Myrick, chief of staff at NOVA at or Amanda Wilder, interim associate director of federal relations at

Topics: press release, diversity and inclusion