U.S. Department of Education Unveils 2023 Update to Equity Action Plan, Introduces New Initiatives to Promote Equity

The Department of Education in the United States (Department) has released its 2023 Update to its Equity Action Plan. This update is part of the Department’s efforts to implement the President’s Executive Order on “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government.” The Department aims to deliver equity and build a nation where everyone can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

The Department is committed to providing every student and community with equal access to a rigorous and inclusive education in a safe school environment. By prioritizing equity, the Department is working to address long-standing disparities in education that still affect underserved students, families, and communities.

The Department has identified five key areas of focus for its 2023 Equity Action Plan. These areas were determined through community visits, listening sessions, research community discussions, and more. The Department will continue to engage the public on its progress and next steps throughout the year. The five areas of focus are:

  • The Department aims to improve college access, affordability, and degree completion for underserved students. This includes enrolling more students from underserved groups, raising graduation rates, and offering affordable credentials that lead to economic mobility.
  • The Department plans to implement Maintenance of Equity requirements to ensure historically underserved students have equitable resources for learning recovery. This includes allocating funds for Title I schools and protecting high poverty schools from funding reductions.
  • The Department aims to address inequities faced by justice-impacted individuals by increasing access to postsecondary learning opportunities and supporting successful reentry outcomes.
  • The Department will invest in career and technical education to promote equity and create pathways to well-paying jobs.
  • The Department aims to increase mental health resources, with a focus on underserved communities, through funding provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Since the release of its first-ever Equity Action Plan in 2022, the Department has taken significant actions to advance equity. Some highlights include:

  • The Department provided guidance to colleges and universities on promoting educational opportunity and diversity.
  • Over $40 million in grants were awarded to programs focused on helping low-income students, first-generation students, and students with disabilities gain access to college.
  • Additional debt relief was approved through fixes to income-drive repayment and Public Student Loan Forgiveness programs.
  • The Department rolled out the SAVE plan, the most affordable repayment plan ever created, and re-launched the “Raise the Bar: Attaining College Excellence & Equity” initiative.
  • 264 grants were funded with $1 billion in Bipartisan Safer Communities Act funds to increase the supply of school-based mental health professionals.
  • The Department issued guidance and resources to schools on addressing discrimination and creating inclusive and nondiscriminatory environments.

The Department’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” agenda focuses on accelerating learning, supporting students’ mental health, empowering educators and multilingual learners, and reimagining pathways to college and careers. The goal is to build an education system that provides equal opportunities for all students to discover their passion, purpose, and potential.

For more information on the Administration’s equity work, visit whitehouse.gov/equity and performance.gov/equity. Follow the hashtags #GovEquity and #GovDelivers on social media for updates from various agencies.

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