NAICU Washington Update

Obama Administration Announces Second Round of “First in the World” Grants

May 11, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that it will award up to $60 million to innovative colleges and universities through a second round of grants in the First in the World (FITW) program. According to the Department, the FITW program seeks to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes, and make higher education more affordable for students.

Interested parties can submit applications to the Department from May 11, 2015 to June 26, 2015.

Unlike the first round of grants (See May 19, 2014 Washington Update), this year the program will have two tiers:

  • The Development tier will be funded in three areas: improving teaching and learning; developing and using assessments of student learning; and facilitating pathways to credentialing and transfer.
  • The Validation tier will be funded in four areas: improving success in developmental education; improving teaching and learning; improving student support services; and influencing the development of non-cognitive factors.

The Department of Education will also host a series of pre-application webinars to provide an overview of the FITW program, evidence requirements, priorities, and selection criteria. The briefings will be held on May 14, 15, and 19 at 3:00 pm EDT. To find out more information about the program and how to apply, or to participate in a webinar, visit the “Applicant Info” section of the program’s website.

The Department of Education is also seeking peer reviewers to participate in the FITW awards process. Information on how to apply to become a peer reviewer can be found here.

The first round of grants provided $75 million to 24 grant recipients, including five NAICU members. A summary of the competition, including a directory of grantees and project abstracts, may be accessed here.

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