NAICU Washington Update

First in the World Grant Competition Opens

May 19, 2014

The U. S. Department of Education announced on May 16, that $75 million will be available for the developmental stage of “First in the World” (FITW) grants for a wide range of innovations at colleges and universities that result in more students graduating from college by 2020, especially low-income, traditionally under-represented, and minority students. Up to $20 million will be available for minority-serving institutions.

There is a quick turnaround on this process, with applications due June 30, and intergovernmental review expected by August 29, 2104. Department technical assistance and webinars are already scheduled to help campuses apply for this new grant opportunity.

FY 2014 FITW Pre-Application Webinars (click link to register):

According to the notice, the department is looking for the most innovative and creative thinking from colleges. The department will look to fund projects that are novel, and can be significant nationally, not just “implementing existing practices in additional locations.”

There are five priority areas the department will consider when reviewing applications, all of which should be targeted to underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students:

  1. Increasing access and completion;
  2. Increasing community college transfer rates;
  3. Increasing enrollment and completion in STEM;
  4. Reducing time to completion; and
  5. Improving college affordability.

These priorities reflect the kind of ideas many private colleges are experimenting with as evidenced in NAICU’s Building Blocks to 2020 initiative.

Applications must cite research, acceptable to the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards, which supports the proposal.

There is no institutional match for the grant.

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