Funding, Grants & Awards

NSF Dangles Funding for New Ways To Get Students Through Math

If you have a new idea for helping college students learn foundational math, the National Science Foundation (NSF) wants to give you money to research and test it out.

The NSF has issued a "Dear Colleague" letter inviting people to submit proposals related to assisting students through the math that's typically taught in the first two years of college. As part of the same program, the agency is also seeking proposals for funding to put on conferences in 2015 to share research related to improving student success in math.

The announcement came during a White House-hosted event on college completion.

Dear Colleague letters are used by the government to draw attention to changes in policies or documents or publicize new funding opportunities.

The problem of math literacy in higher education is acute. Sixty to 70 percent of incoming community college students tested on their mastery of math end up in developmental math courses. Only five percent end up passing those courses. And 80 percent of the students placed into developmental math never complete any college-level course within three years.

"An understanding of mathematics is a crucial foundation for college completion and any future study in the STEM disciplines," said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, who leads NSF's Education and Human Resources directorate. "We are eager to get ideas that can help students persist and succeed in mathematics."

Researchers that are already doing NSF-funded work in this area can go after supplemental funding; or researchers can tender new proposals as part of Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) funding or submit conference proposals. The invitation to submit paperwork is open until May 1, 2015.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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