Although approximately 18% of the U.S. population lives in rural communities, national policy conversations and initiatives have not prioritized rural postsecondary education and workforce training participation and completion strategies. The majority of national student success reforms have been piloted and tested in urban areas, where unique contexts like access to broadband internet and transportation are significantly different than those in rural areas. This has led to a gap in evidence for strategies that specifically support rural learners from low-income backgrounds in earning degrees and credentials with labor market value.
We’re pleased to announce a new grant opportunity to advance actionable research that supports improvements in postsecondary education and workforce training outcomes for rural learners. Building Evidence to Increase Rural Learner Success is a research initiative created to address those gaps in knowledge by generating new insights specific to rural learners and their environments. We envision that the new evidence generated will serve as a resource for practitioners and policymakers as they work to scale effective approaches to removing systemic barriers faced by learners in rural geographies.
“There are unique contexts within rural communities that make the adoption of evidence-based strategies and approaches studied in non-rural areas challenging,” said Program Officer Kirstin Yeado. “With this initiative, Ascendium is seeking proposals that center the unique assets and contexts of rural communities and contribute new, actionable knowledge on programs, policies and practices that specifically promote postsecondary education and workforce training success for rural learners from low-income backgrounds.”
We encourage researchers, especially those in rural areas who are familiar with the opportunities and challenges rural learners face, to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) by Oct. 7, 2022. Grants of up to $500,000 over up to three years will be awarded. Learn more about the Building Evidence to Increase Rural Learner Success initiative, including how to submit an LOI.
Ascendium has partnered with American Institutes for Research (AIR) to support the management of this initiative. In partnership with AIR, we will be hosting an informational webinar on Monday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. CST for those wanting to learn more. Researchers interested in submitting an LOI should register to attend as representatives from both organizations will be available to answer questions related to this grant opportunity. Register for the informational webinar.
Learn more about Ascendium’s commitment to supporting rural postsecondary education and workforce training.