Trending Now: Postsecondary

Many of us should be very hopeful now. Hopeful that we can change education to be more inclusive and that we can help more students to complete a degree that will set the stage for the rest of their lives.


The U.S. Department of Education’s First in the World (FITW) Program has $75 million on the table for innovations that improve the quality and affordability of higher education. Applications are due in just one month on June 30.

It’s run through an innovation arm of the Department of Ed that for 40 years has spurred many institutions to test new approaches to undergraduate education. With funding now allocated to FITW and a streamlined focus on affordability and outcomes—especially for underrepresented, underprepared, and low-income students—this grant program is poised to take postsecondary innovations to a new height.

Interestingly, the program’s goals also echo those of NGLC’s Higher Ed Breakthrough Models grants:

Successful FITW projects will support greater college affordability for students, through the implementation and evaluation of practices and strategies that have the potential to reduce costs while delivering high-quality academic programs to students.

I’m thrilled to see FITW expand the field of next gen learning in three ways:

Providing more funding for those who seek to change the field (about 10x the $7.7 million NGLC awarded to 10 institutions in 2012);

Addressing not only college completion but also access, transfer, enrollment in STEM, and reducing time to completion for underserved and low-income students, and

Emphasizing and insisting on evidence-based innovations, in the same vein as the highly successful Investing in Innovation (i3) fund for K-12. 

Interested in finding out more? There’s a pre-application webinar on June 4, so be sure to register. Then, boost your application and your project design by building upon others’ pioneering efforts in this space. You can learn about these NGLC grantees in Breakthrough Models for College Completion: The Next Generation of Models for Higher Education.


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