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Our Focus Areas

We know learners from low-income backgrounds have the same abilities as high-income learners. Ascendium is working to change postsecondary and workforce training systems so that low-income learners have the same opportunities for academic and career success. To that end, we award exploration, validation and scaling grants in four focus areas that foster upward social mobility.


We hope our work contributes to a future where more learners from low-income backgrounds achieve upward mobility through postsecondary education and workforce training.

News and updates

September 21, 2023 Newsletter

Tackling Economic Inequity, Validation Grant Guidance Released, and Part 2 of Q&A with UIA’s Bridget Burns

  • How a Coalition of Nonprofit, Private Colleges Is Tackling Economic Inequity
  • Validation Grant Guidance Released for Partners Evaluating Effectiveness of Innovations and Reforms
  • Q&A: UIA’s Bridget Burns on Helping Struggling Students Get Back on Track (Part 2)
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August 24, 2023 Newsletter

Q&A with UIA’s Bridget Burns, Improving Learner Outcomes with Updated CUNY Transfer Explorer, and More

  • Q&A: UIA’s Bridget Burns on Helping Struggling Students Get Back on Track (Part 1)
  • Updated Tool Saves Time and Money to Improve Learner Outcomes
  • Helping Learners See a Clearer Path: Awareness Continues to Build Around Guided Pathways Framework
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July 20, 2023 Newsletter

Evolving Our Team to Better Meet the Needs of Learners, We’re Hiring, and More

  • Changes in Education Philanthropy Support Evolving Needs of Learners from Low-Income Backgrounds
  • New Initiatives Aim to Cut Early Student Dropouts by Increasing Connection
  • Why Supporting Financial Aid Administrators Is Key to Unlocking Opportunities for Incarcerated Learners
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