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New Grants to Reimagine Financial Aid & Help Increase Postsecondary Access, Success and Completion

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced grants to a group of 14 organizations working on postsecondary financial aid solutions. The organizations represent a mix of thought leaders from business, higher education, civil rights and public policy.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: +1.206.709.3400
Email: media@gatesfoundation.org

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced grants to a group of 14 organizations working on postsecondary financial aid solutions. The organizations represent a mix of thought leaders from business, higher education, civil rights and public policy. Each will explore policy recommendations for improving financial aid, so that more young people can attend college, become successful students and ultimately earn valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials.

These grants are part of a project, Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD), which will culminate in white papers published by each organization early next year. Each paper will offer an original perspective on how financial aid can help more students be successful in college. The foundation’s ultimate goal is to spark a robust discussion about how financial aid can be used as a lever to increase student success, especially for low-income and middle-income students.

“We believe financial aid is an important piece of the completion puzzle,” said Daniel Greenstein, director, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Not only does it open doors for students, but when done right, financial aid can also increase the likelihood that young adults complete their educations. There is a lot to learn and we’re excited about beginning the conversation and finding out what the research will discover.”

The RADD project is intended to accomplish two goals: (1) to shift the national conversation on federal financial aid toward ideas that will make college more affordable, while giving students the support and encouragement they need to earn their degree or credential; and (2) to seed the field with innovative policies that can make that happen.

The U.S. economy needs more highly-skilled workers than our postsecondary system is producing, and there is an increasing mismatch between the qualifications of those entering the labor market and employer needs. At this critical moment, there is an opportunity to explore new ways of helping students finance their postsecondary educations so that they are encouraged and supported, from start to finish. Currently, only about half of all students who start a postsecondary program complete.

The 14 organizations involved in the RADD project will receive a total of $3.3 million in grants.

The organizations are: Alliance for Excellent Education, Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), Committee for Economic Development, Excelencia in Education, HCM Strategists , Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), National College Access Network (NCAN), New America Foundation (NAF), The Education Trust, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce, and Young Invincibles.

Additional grantees may be added as the project moves forward.

The RADD project supports the foundation’s overall commitment to helping students obtain the credentials they need to be competitive in the workforce, and to helping institutions improve while managing costs in tough times.

“As education costs increase and public funding diminishes, we have lost the one thing that has kept college within everyone’s reach—affordability,” added Greenstein.

In addition to financial aid, the foundation’s postsecondary strategy also supports flexible learning platforms, improved technology, and high-quality on-campus programs, which are all part of the effort to substantively address affordability and student success.

For more information please visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success webpage.

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