Department Awards $75 Million in “First in the World” Grants to 24 Colleges and Universities
Grants will support innovative strategies at colleges and universities that make higher education more accessible and help guide students toward completion
To drive innovations in higher education that increase college completion, value and affordability, the Education Department today awarded $75 million to 24 colleges and universities under the new “First in the World” (FITW) grant program.
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.
Examples of funded projects are:
- Hampton University in Virginia, an HBCU, will use its $3.5 million grant to redesign many of its courses to entail more project-based learning and technology tools, benefitting more than 1000 students over its 4-year duration.
- Purdue University in Indiana, a public 4-year institution in Indiana, will work with its partners in the University Innovation Alliance to use its $2.3 million grant to support STEM undergraduates, particularly women and underrepresented groups, by redesigning large-lecture courses to more fully engage students through active learning interventions. Nearly 10,000 students will benefit over the course of the 4-year grant.
- LaGuardia Community College in New York will use its $2.9 million grant to strengthen its curriculum by developing an integrated set of tools to increase student engagement and success, including the use of ePortfolios, learning analytics, and outcomes assessments. The changes will support thousands of high-risk students as they move from LaGuaradia’s non-credit program to academic enrollment as well as enrolled students moving toward graduation.
As the projects are further developed, the Department will convene for information sharing and the exchange of best practices to broaden the impact of their innovations on a wider student population.
For the Education FY2015 budget, Secretary Duncan has requested $100 million to expand support for the First in the World fund. The request also asks for $75 million for College Success Grants for Minority-Serving Institutions, which would make competitive awards to minority-serving institutions designated under Title III and Title V of the Higher Education Act.
2014 First In The World Grantees (FITW)
Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville—– $3,175,302
Alicia Simmons, email@example.com, (256) 782-8145
Arizona State University, Tempe —–$3,999,955
Jeanne Wilcox, firstname.lastname@example.org, (480) 965-0158
University of Southern California, Los Angeles —–$3,203,257
William Tierney, email@example.com (213) 740-7218
Georgia Tech, Atlanta —–$3,800,000
Christopher Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org, (404) 894-8000
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw —–$3,209,405
Jennifer Wade-Berg, email@example.com, (707) 423-6630
Central Georgia Technical College, Warner Robins —–$3,215,009
Nimisha Raval, firstname.lastname@example.org, (478) 757-2588
Indiana State University, Terre Haute —–$1,627,322
Joshua Powers, email@example.com, ((812) 237-8378
Purdue University, West Lafayette —–$2,373,003
Chantal Levesque-Bristol, firstname.lastname@example.org, (765) 496-6424
Gateway Technical and Community College, Florence —–$3,327,881
Amber Decker, email@example.com, (859) 442-1147
Bay Path University, Longmeadow —–$3,548,322
David Demers, firstname.lastname@example.org, (413) 565-1315
Northeastern University, Boston—–$3,920,926
Kevin Bell, email@example.com, (617) 373-6603
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo —–$3,217,511
Andrea Beach, Andrea.firstname.lastname@example.org, (269) 387-1725
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis—–$2,828,912
Geoffrey Maruyama, Geoff@umn.edu, (612) 625-5861
Delta State University, Cleveland —–$1,660,957
Christy Riddle, email@example.com, (662)846-4336
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—–$3,030,323
Abigail Panter, firstname.lastname@example.org, (919) 962,4012
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester —–$3,953,360
Cathrael Kazin, email@example.com, (603) 314-1420
Research Foundation for SUNY/Oswego, Albany—–$2,885,126
Lorrie Clemo, firstname.lastname@example.org; (315) 312-2290
LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City —–$2,908,031
Bret Eynon, email@example.com, (718) 482-5405
The College of New Rochelle—–$3,998,781
Ana Fontoura, firstname.lastname@example.org, (914) 654-5456
Bryn Mawr College—–$1,653,186
Elizabeth McCormack, email@example.com (610) 526-5356
South Dakota State University, Brookings —– $3,599,996
Marysz Rames, firstname.lastname@example.org, (605) 688-4493
Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi —–$3,301,524
Patricia Spaniol-Mathews, email@example.com
Lee College District, Baytown —–$2,690,954
Victoria Marron, firstname.lastname@example.org, (281) 425-6501
Hampton University, Hampton—–$3,500,0000
Ira Walker, email@example.com, (757) 727-5397