Foundations put $6.1M into community-college efforts
With the help of $6.1 million from two foundations, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is launching a four-year effort aimed at dramatically increasing the number of students who complete community-college programs. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $5.3 million of the total, along with $800,000 from the Ford Foundation.
Seattle Times education reporter
With the help of $6.1 million from two foundations, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is launching a four-year effort to dramatically increase the number of students who complete community-college programs.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $5.3 million of the total, along with $800,000 from the Ford Foundation.
The Gates Foundation views Washington state's efforts as models that could be used nationally to increase the number of people who complete a degree or certificate beyond high school. The foundation says only 28 percent of first-time, full-time students at two-year colleges earn an associate degree within three years of enrolling.
The grant will help expand several programs in Washington state that already are getting good reviews.
One is the I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) program, which allows students who need to take remedial classes the chance to combine those studies with career-skills training and to finish much faster than they would if they had to do the remedial work separately.
The money also will help fund a fledgling program that rewards community and technical colleges for the success of their students, not just for how many they enroll.
The grant will help launch two new programs. One is an effort to strengthen 80 key courses most students must take to earn a degree, and to offer those courses online. In the other, seven Washington colleges will work together to improve the instruction and support students receive in math classes, with the goal of increasing by 15 percent the number of students who pass the classes.
The grants are part of the Gates Foundation's new postsecondary initiative. By 2025, the foundation's goal is to see twice as many low-income students in the United States graduate from college or other post high-school programs.
Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or email@example.com
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