Second Competition for ‘First’ Funding Starts

The Education Dept. Office of the Postsecondary Education opens a $44 million competition to improve the way higher education is offered in the country.

The program, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education: First in the World (CFDA Number: 84.116F) and First in the World Minority Institutions (CFDA Number: 84.116X), is open to states and public and private colleges and universities.

Funding: $44 million for First in the World awards and $16 million for First in the World Minority Institutions grants; Deadline: June 26.

This higher education-focused program is modeled after the Investing in Innovation (i3) program for K-12 education. The goal of i3 is to fund innovative ways to improve K-12 student achievement or student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates or increase high school graduation rates and college enrollment/completion rates. FITW provides incentives and rewards for innovation and building evidence of what works to reduce costs and improve outcomes in postsecondary education. A key element of the FITW program is its multi-tier structure that links the amount of funding that an applicant may receive to the quality of evidence supporting the proposed project and the scope of its potential impact. Applicants proposing practices supported by limited evidence can receive smaller grants (development grants) that support the development and initial evaluation of innovative but untested strategies.

Applicants proposing practices supported by evidence from rigorous evaluations can receive larger grants (validation and scale-up grants), in amounts commensurate to the level of supporting evidence and intended scope. Validation and scale-up grantees will test whether initially successful strategies remain effective when adopted in varied locations and with large and diverse groups of students.

DoEd believes this structure provides incentives for applicants to build evidence of the effectiveness of their proposed projects and to address the barriers to serving large numbers of students.

This year’s competition has nine priorities: (1) Improving Success in Developmental Education; (2) Improving Teaching and Learning; (3) Improving Student Support Services; (4) Developing and Using Assessments of Learning; (5) Facilitating Pathways to Credentialing and Transfer; (6) Increasing the Effectiveness of Financial Aid; (7) Implementing Low Cost-High Impact Strategies To Improve Student Outcomes; (8) Improving Postsecondary Student Outcomes at Minority-Serving Institutions; and (9) Systems and Consortia Focused on Large-Scale Impact.

Contact: Frank Frankfort, 202/502-7513; e-mail, Frank.Frankfort@ed.gov

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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