Funding, Grants & Awards

FACE Wins $5 Million Grant To Improve College Completion Rates

The Federation for a Competitive Economy (FACE), a partnership of schools and businesses in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California, has won a $5 million Governor's Award for Innovation in Higher Education. FACE won the grant for a proposal to help ensure area high school students are prepared for college and that college students complete their bachelor's degree programs. It was one of five proposals to win grants, out of a total of 57 submissions.

College completion rates in the region are are lower than the state average, in a state that already has the one of the lowest bachelor's degree graduation rates, according to information from the organization. To address this challenge, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) in partnership with the University of California, Riverside, multiple community colleges, school districts, governments, businesses, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership developed a proposal that aims to increase the number of high school graduates who are prepared for college and also increase the number of college students earning bachelor's degrees.

The proposal's benchmarks for meeting those goals by 2020 include:

  • Using FACE and its 175 members to align educational policies and initiatives between the two counties to improve college outcomes and keep those college graduates in the area;
  • Reducing the number of college freshmen who need remediation classes by 20 percent by increasing college readiness at the high school level, particularly in math;
  • Increasing the number of bachelor's degrees earned at area universities by 15 percent;
  • Increasing the number of students completing their bachelor's degrees within six years by 10 percent; and
  • Strengthening partnerships with area industries to create more college internship opportunities and help students develop business relationships while they're in college.

A key component of the proposal aims to improve high school math instruction. According to the proposal, more than half of CSUSB freshmen need remediation in math, English or both. FACE proposed three solutions to the remediation problem, including regional adoption of the Early Assessment Program, math and English summer academies for high school graduates and a fourth year of high school math for juniors who earn a score of "conditionally ready" on the Early Assessment Program.

As a result of winning the Governor's Award, FACE anticipates that it will receive additional funding from private foundations such as the James Irvine Foundation, the California Futures Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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