Georgetown Receives $2.9 Million Gates Grant
December 9, 2008 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced earlier this week a $2.9 million grant to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, a research center of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
The grant provides funds for the center to conduct research and analysis that will help postsecondary education systems improve completion rates among low-income students at two- and four-year colleges nationwide.
“Every year, more than half-a-million students who graduate in the top half of their high school class – students whose test scores show that they can succeed in college – fail to earn a college degree within eight years,” said Dr. Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce. “Our research shows that these students are at a severe disadvantage when they enter the workforce.”
A critical barrier to postsecondary success is the poor preparation of many incoming students and the ability of colleges to adequately address this problem. Nearly half of all college students require some remedial instruction, a number that rises to nearly 60 percent in community colleges. This often delays student progress and limits completion rates.
The grant is part of a larger Gates Foundation effort to double the numbers of low-income students who earn a postsecondary degree or vocational degree by the time they turn 26.
“There is no greater door to opportunity in this country than access to a quality education,” said Allan Golston, president of the foundation’s U.S. Program. “Today, Americans without a college education live close to the poverty line for a family of four. That is why we are making a long-term commitment to dramatically increase college completion – a goal that is both ambitious and necessary.”
The Center’s grant-funded work will help to establish an evidence base for change through awareness-raising research and reports and the development of policy recommendations to drive greater access to and completion of postsecondary education. Grant-funded research will also begin providing educators, students and policymakers with a better understanding of which postsecondary degrees produce the biggest returns in the labor market. This critical information will help ensure young people are learning the skills necessary to prepare them for the future.
“Education is one of America’s most important economic drivers,” said Carnevale. “We must ensure that our colleges are teaching the skills that businesses will need now and in the future.”