Monday, October 4, 2010
According to a report in today's Washington Post, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is making a $34.8 million, five-year commitment to raise stagnant completion rates in the nation's two-year public colleges. The Gates initiative, Completion by Design, will seek applications from groups of community colleges in nine target areas: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. As many as five proposals will be funded, based on their prospects for success.
The Postquotes Hillary Pennington, director of education, post-secondary success, at the Gates Foundation, as saying that the Foundation hopes the initiative will cause two-year colleges to "step back and analyze how many students they are losing, and why."
Across the nation, two-year colleges serve 12 million students. However, they lag far behind four-year colleges in completion rates. The Post outlines several reasons for this problem. They are worth examining closely, with a view to fixing the problems.