Confirming Promising Ideas

Validation Grants

These grants fund independent evaluations to demonstrate whether a program is as effective as preliminary data suggests, and if so, for whom and under what conditions. Validation grants help build the body of evidence to support ideas that deserve to be more widely implemented.

  • The 3 Ways We Fund


Multiple Measures Assessment

70% of community college students placed in remedial courses graduate within 8.5 years

*A Primer on the College Student Journey, Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, 2016

Students who are placed into remedial classes are less likely to earn degrees than those who start in college-level courses—and research suggests many are misplaced. We're learning whether switching to more accurate assessments can improve graduation rates.

Degrees When Due


Degree reclamation initiatives aim to improve completion and labor market outcomes for individuals with some college but no degree. To help the field learn more about the impact of these initiatives, the Institute for Higher Education Policy is conducting research with our support.

Ease Summer Enrollment Grant

Encouraging additional summer enrollment

Many community college students enroll part time or inconsistently, and the more time they spend out of school, the less likely they are to graduate. That's why we're working with community colleges in Ohio to learn if attending summer school can help more students graduate and graduate faster.

Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative

Lowering student expenses by one-third

Can a degree program using free online materials in place of textbooks improve student success rates? We're joining forces with Achieving The Dream™ to find out.

The Degree Project®

2.5 GPA plus 90 percent attendance equals 12,000 dollars scholarship

In collaboration with the Milwaukee Public Schools, we'll learn if the promise of a college scholarship promotes good grades, graduation, and matriculation.

Career Ready Internship Grant

22 million dollars committed to this program to date

Internships improve graduation rates and job prospects, but are often unpaid and impossible for students needing a paying job. This grant creates PAID internships exclusively for these students.

Training for Emergency Grant Decision-Makers

Making yes or no easier

By providing training materials to emergency grant staff, we can help them make decisions that prevent eligible students from dropping out due to unexpected financial setbacks. We hope this will help more students stay enrolled and on the path to graduation.

Engaging Adjunct Faculty Initiative

Helping part-time faculty fully connect to students

Part-time adjunct faculty often lack training in teaching methods and campus resources—hindering the success of diverse learners. This Achieving the Dream™ initiative seeks ways to both improve adjunct faculty teaching quality and increase awareness of student support programs.

ASAP Replication Demonstration

Two-times increase in graduation

Can an innovative program from New York City that dramatically boosts community college graduation rates work elsewhere? We're finding out.

STEM Pipeline Study

50% fail to finish

With more than 50% of low-income students leaving STEM majors before graduation, we want to see if providing additional financial aid can change that.