THE BILL AND MELINDA Gates Foundation, the philanthropic and sometimes controversial group whose funding has influenced major education policy decisions in the U.S., is launching a new higher education initiative to answer the question, “Is college worth it?”
“More than at any other time I can remember, students and families across America are asking themselves, is college worth it,'” Sue Desmond-Hellmann, president of the Gates Foundation, said. “As the cost of a credential rises and student debt goes to record levels, people are actually asking a question I never thought I’d hear, ‘Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?’ This question of value needs to be addressed, and we feel that it needs to be addressed urgently.”
To that end, the foundation has convened a 30-person commission to evaluate the returns of education after high school, especially for low-income students and students of color.
Universities making simple mistakes on Department of Education grant applications, like using the wrong spacing or type face, are losing thousands of dollars in federal funding.
At least 40 colleges and organizations applying for federal grants for Upward Bound, a program established in the 1960s that helps pay for low-income students to attend college, have been rejected for failing to follow strict guidelines regarding spacing and font, according to The Chronicle for Higher Education.
Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, which has received millions of dollars in federal funding over the last 50 years for the program, was rejected this year for violating a double-spacing rule that requires “no more than three lines per vertical inch.”
The U.S. Department of Education today released a report, “Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education,” building on the Administration’s efforts to expand college opportunity for all. It presents key data that show the continuing educational inequities and opportunity gaps for students of color and low-income students and highlights promising practices that many colleges are taking to advance success for students of all backgrounds.
More than ever before, today’s students need to be prepared to succeed in a diverse, global workforce. Diversity benefits communities, schools, and students from all backgrounds, and research has shown that more diverse organizations make better decisions with better results. CEOs, university presidents, the military, and other leaders have accordingly expressed a strong interest in increasing diversity to ensure our nation enjoys a culturally competent workforce that capitalizes on the diverse backgrounds, talents, and perspectives that have helped America succeed.
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.
These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to helping all Americans complete a quality, affordable college education, the U.S. Department of Education today released a report highlighting the efforts of colleges and universities to promote access, opportunity and success among low-income students, and identifying areas of much-needed improvement.
“For students from low- and moderate-income families, a college degree is the surest path to the middle class in our country. I applaud the colleges and universities that have taken measurable steps to open up this pathway and make it a successful one for students from all backgrounds. But we need these types of efforts to become the rule and not the exception,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.