During a recent White House summit on college access and affordability, many foundations and philanthropists committed to renew their efforts to make a college education more accessible and affordable, especially for low-income students and other historically underrepresented groups.
According to a recent report by the Chronicle of Social Change, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced plans to recommend that its board allocate an additional $2.5 million toward college readiness initiatives. Specifically, the funder plans to do the following:
- Commit $500,000 to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its Community College Pathways Program.
- Commit $500,000 to Expeditionary Learning in New York for expansion of its Deeper Learning curriculum and related professional development for teachers.
- Award $500,000 to OpenStax College, an initiative of Rice University in Houston that provides free and open textbooks to students.
- Allocate $1 million for new research on difficult-to-measure indicators of college and career readiness. Researchers have identified important academic measures of college readiness, such as on-time high school graduation and SAT/ACT scores. However, qualities such as student grit and academic tenacity, characteristics and behaviors that drive student success in a postsecondary environment, remain more difficult to quantify.
With its plan for additional college readiness funding, Hewlett has chosen to concentrate its resources among known commodities, as all of the intended recipients have benefited from this funder's support in the past. Carnegie Foundation and Expeditionary's Deeper Learning are longtime recipients of Hewlett funding. Deeper Learning is about developing an academic mindset while learning to master academic content and is a central focus of Hewlett's education giving. Hewlett's experience in this area also is sure to inform its efforts to support new research on the more elusive measures of college readiness. Hewlett also is a past supporter of OpenStax College.