Bloomberg Initiative to Improve College Completion Rates

A new Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative will increase the number of high-achieving low- and moderate-income students who graduate from top colleges and universities.

The new $10 million initiative will help as many as 65,000 students apply to, enroll in and graduate from top colleges and universities by providing support and guidance on the college and financial aid process. The initiative will engage college and university presidents and leading experts to spur changes in higher education policies and practices to meet the goal’s initiative.

“Many of America’s brightest students don’t apply to college simply because they lack access to the right information and guidance, particularly students from low- and middle-income families who want to go to competitive colleges but don’t think they can afford it,” says Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “America is the world’s greatest meritocracy but we have much more work to do to make sure that every young person has a chance to achieve their dreams, and a big part of that work is making sure that family income does not prevent talented and qualified students from applying to top colleges.”

Investments to lead to many supports

Bloomberg Philanthropies is investing $10 million over the next two years and additional funds over the following years based on initial results. Other foundations are joining this effort, starting with the New York-based Heckscher Foundation for Children, which is committing advisory support and an additional $1 million over the next two years.

The investments will support:

  • A squad of well-trained advisors from College Advising Corps, College Possible and Strive for College, who will be matched with high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students (the students will be identified primarily by the College Board and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation).
  • Khan Academy in developing free, high-quality online content on the college and financial aid process and making it available to students receiving virtual advising.
  • Professors from the of Virginia and Stanford U. in researching the impact of virtual advising outcomes.
  • Aspen Institute in convening a task force of leading college presidents and experts to develop actionable recommendations for how the 265 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates and strong financial aid policies can enroll and graduate substantially more of these high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students.
  • America Achieves in developing shared technology tools to strengthen relationships between students and advisors.

Contact: Meghan Womack, 212/205-0176; e-mail, meghan@bloomberg.org

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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