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Gates Foundation Awards Four Cities Grants To Boost College Graduation Rates

September 28, 2010

Community college buildingTo help more students graduate from college, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give four U.S. cities a total of $12 million.

According to Education Week, the grant winners--New York City; Mesa, Arizona; and Riverside and San Francisco, California--will each receive $3 million over the next three years as part of a Communities Learning in Partnership Initiative. The initiative will be led by the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education, and Families program.

"We must not only ensure that young people have access to college, we must ensure that they go on to complete college and earn a degree or certificate with value in the workplace," says Allan Golston, president of The Gates Foundation's U.S. program, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Also, City University of New York (CUNY) and IBM plan to open a high school for grades 9 through 14, at which students could complete an associate degree, per WNYC News. IBM would give $250,000 to develop the institution, whose aims are to decrease the 70-plus percent of students needing remedial math or English courses in college and to double, by 2020, the number of students obtaining associate degrees from CUNY. The school, in the planning stages, would serve 500 to 600, non-screened students.

"When they graduate from grade 14 with an associate degree and a qualified record, they will be guaranteed a job with IBM and a ticket to the middle class, or even beyond," says New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

With its $3 million Gates Foundation grant, New York City plans to assemble a task force to align academic standards between its public schools and CUNY's community colleges, improve academic counseling and develop a college readiness benchmark.

Mesa plans to invest the money in helping low-income students succeed in college, striving to raise higher education graduation rates from 8 to 16 percent by 2020, Education Week reports.

With the funds, Riverside plans to improve early assessment, college preparation strategies for students, and post-secondary education success. It hopes to boost associate degree completion from 14 to 20 percent by 2020.

San Francisco aims to expand college preparation and retention programs, including increasing access to preschool and allowing more people to earn on-the-job college credit, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. Its goal is to increase the number of full-time college students from 36 to 65 percent by 2020.

The Gates Foundation selected the four cities out of seven, all of which it initially awarded $4 million in planning grants last year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The cities not chosen were Phoenix, Arizona; Dayton, Ohio; and Jacksonville, Florida.


Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff

Sources:

"Gates Foundation Awards $12-Million To Improve College Completion In 4 Cities," chronicle.com, September 27, 2010, Jennifer Gonzalez.

"Gates Foundation Grant Goes To S.F. Schools," sfgate.com, September 27, 2010, Jill Tucker.

"Gates Gives $12M To Four Cities To Boost College Completion," blogs.edweek.org, September 27, 2010, Caralee Adams.

"IBM And Gates Foundation Fund College-Readiness Programs In NYC Schools," beta.wnyc.org, September 27, 2010, Beth Fertig.

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