SAS Institute: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: SAS Institute engages higher education by partnering with universities and other higher-ed organizations to establish SAS-oriented degree and certificate programs. It also offers scholarship funding that gives full-time students free registration for its conferences, free in-kind donations to colleges and universities, and a separate stream of funding for the K-12 set.

IP TAKE: The institute seeks grantees whose work or program in data analysis ties in directly with SAS software.

PROFILE: The ties between the SAS (pronounced “sass”) Institute and higher education run long and deep. The institute seeks to “suppor[t] efforts that prepare more graduates for college, work and success in the 21st century ... SAS focuses its philanthropic activities on creating programs at its headquarters in Cary, NC, that can be replicated elsewhere.”Now an independent company, the Institute was originally started about five decades ago in response to “a need for a computerized statistics program to analyze vast amounts of agricultural data collected through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants.” With the help of a grant from the National Institutes of Health, eight top universities (ultimately led by the University of North Carolina) came together to “develop a general-purpose statistical software package to analyze all the agricultural data they were generating.”  Overall, the institute supports the environment, K-12 education, and higher education. 

The institute supports both K-12 and higher education by providing tools that teachers and administrators can use to facilitate a better learning environment for students. Schools can take advantage of free administrative-support products and services.

The SAS Student Ambassador Program is a competition that offers grants to students who use SAS technologies in innovative ways that benefit their fields of study. Chosen grantees must present their research at the SAS Global Forum. In addition, the company sponsors a poster competition that offers students a chance to receive recognition in their chosen fields.

NORTH CAROLINA: In North Carolina, SAS partners with Cary Academy. In the past, the institute has offered in-kind donations to organizations such as Triangle High Five, which works to encourage "...the development and sustainability of professional learning communities within the North Carolina Triangle Region and across the state," the Wake Education Partnership, the NC Public School Forum, and the YMCA.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: SAS also offers significant support to organizations and commissions. Past grantees include the Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the JOBS Commission, the e-Learning Commission,, and Change the Equation, a national non-profit coalition of corporate CEOs working to improve STEM learning for every child, with a particular focus on girls and minority students.

IN-KIND DONATIONS: The products and services SAS offers provide administrators with a complete picture of each student's record with regard to many factors other than grades, including enrollment, attendance, assessments, and transportation. This information permits and empowers administrators to better gauge the effectiveness of the overall education experience so that they, in turn, can be more effective. For example, with Curriculum Pathways, SAS works with schools and districts statewide, nationally, and internationally to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. 


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