Success in helping students overcome barriers begins with strong partnerships; we think of our application process as a chance for us to get to know each other. We offer this info on our process to help you get to know us, and aid you in deciding whether to apply.
We invite applications periodically throughout the year for competitive grants to tackle specific barriers to college access and completion. All grant opportunities are announced on this site and in our Philanthropy Newsletter.
When you see a new grant that looks like a good match, visit our site to learn more. You can also download an application with the core documents you'll need to apply. Depending on the grant and what we need to know to make funding decisions, you may be asked to submit other info, too, such as a budget worksheet, evaluation tools, job description, baseline data, etc.
Be sure to register for our applicant webinars to learn more about our goals and criteria, get help with the application, and improve your chances of getting a grant.
Our competitive grant awards hinge on the submission of a complete and compelling application using our grant portal—with all the required documents in the stated formats. It's the only way for us to make a thorough evaluation that gives each and every applicant a fair shot at funding.
We make grants to learn what works, so we ask applicants to propose measurable outcomes that can be tracked over the grant period, and compared to their baseline results.
How do we define that? We see measurable outcomes as clear, objective, intended outcomes for the support funded by the grant.
Two examples to illustrate: The outcome "program participants will feel better prepared to take the ACT/SAT" is neither specific nor measurable in any precise way. A better alternative that is specific and measurable would be: "90% of the program participants will increase their ACT/SAT score by 5 points between the pre- and post-test."
HOW WE EVALUATE APPLICATIONS
With each grant, we review every complete application that is submitted to us through our grant portal by the application deadline. Our evaluation criteria varies according to what we hope to achieve with each grant. We don't make you guess. We explain the criteria in our application packets, and we even walk through the rubrics we use, in our webinars for applicants. Another reason not to miss our webinars!
Each application is carefully evaluated on how well the proposed services or program meets our stated funding priorities. Each application is reviewed by multiple program managers, who calibrate themselves on a small sample up front to ensure fairness and consistency across the full batch.
Sometimes we may request additional information, through a follow-up call, video chat, or site visit. No surprises though—one of our program managers will contact you to schedule the follow-up and give you time to pull info together.
We share our funding decision with every applicant via email, whether ultimately selected for funding or not.
The grant applications we select for funding tend to have several common traits:
- They clearly define the problem their students face (the issue at heart of our grant).
- They present thorough and well-supported plans to address the problem.
- For colleges, a demonstration of institutional commitment to our grant goals, aligned with ongoing efforts to increase student success.
- They clearly define the group of students to be served.
- They provide an in-depth description and accounting of how grant funding will be used.
- They demonstrate collaboration with the larger community.
- They provide measurable outcomes that are aggressive yet achievable in light of baseline data.
- They offer compelling evidence of the funded services' sustainability beyond our grant.