$75M Grant Program Seeks to Improve US College Completion Rates

The US Department of Education recently released information about a new grant to fund the development and testing of innovative approaches and strategies at colleges and universities that improve college attainment and make higher education more affordable for students and families.

$75 million will be available for the new First in the World (FITW) program.  As described by the Department,

The FITW competition aims to increase postsecondary access, affordability and completion for underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students at institutions across the country. Colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals addressing key priorities around boosting enrollment and attainment for those students, or minimizing gaps between these students and their peers; improving transfer rates between community college and four-year institutions; increasing enrollment and completion rates among underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs; reducing time to completion; and increasing college affordability.

Last year, Maryland’s Legislature passed the College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013.   The aim of the law is to prepare Maryland’s high school students for college, to require students to develop degree plans towards completion of undergraduate degrees, and to simplify the process for transferring credits between  Maryland universities and community colleges. For more information about the law, see our previous post, College Readiness Bill Passes in Final Hours of Legislative Session.

For more information see the press release from the Department of Education.