24 Colleges And Universities Receive 75 Million in Grants
Through FITW, the Obama Administration will support postsecondary institutions' efforts to develop and evaluate new approaches that can expand college access and improve student learning while reducing costs. In May, the Department announced this year's grant competition as part of President Obama's ambitious agenda to increase postsecondary access and completion.
"The First in the World grant competition is a key part of President Obama's agenda to foster innovative ideas that help keep college affordable, increase quality and improve educational outcomes for our students," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The Department is proud to support the wide range of innovation at colleges and universities across the nation that can dramatically enhance student outcomes."
Nearly 500 applications were submitted for this FITW grant competition. The 24 colleges and universities selected for this initial year of awards represent 17 states, 19 public, private, and nonprofit 4-year institutions and five public and private two-year institutions. Six of the 24 winning applications—including an HBCU—are from minority serving institutions (MSIs), which will receive about $20 million in funding. Many of the grantees have additional organizational partners, such as other postsecondary institutions, non-profits, and businesses.
All projects will address at least one of these priorities: increasing college access and completion, increasing community college transfer rates, increasing STEM enrollment and completion, and reducing time to completion. They include an array of innovations, such as: developing new project-based majors that allow for self-pacing and acceleration; developing an online experience for adult students that incorporates virtual learning communities and wraparound coaching; expanding access to digital content for students with disabilities, and implementing a game-based tool that gives high school students an understanding of the college search and financing process for use in mentoring programs. As part of the evidence-based program, grantees are required to have a strong evaluation plan to measure the effectiveness of their innovations in helping students succeed. All grants are for a four-year duration.
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