Funding Futures: Scholarships as Agents of Social Change - Donor Resource Guide

Education and Literacy

Funding Futures: Scholarships as Agents of Social Change - Donor Resource Guide

At the Ford Foundation, we know that young people are a formidable force for positive social change in the world. Yet we have also seen how unequal access to economic and social resources limits many talented young people, and keeps them from reaching their full potential.

This resource guide is intended to illustrate how scholarship programs can make higher education more open and inclusive to all—and how they can fuel social change. The impact of well-designed scholarships can extend far beyond individual scholars. These scholarships help recognize and cultivate untapped talent, and address the inequality that too often thrives both in higher education institutions and in communities around the world.

This donor resource guide will be helpful to anyone who wants to start or improve a scholarship or fellowship program and we hope the guide—with its resources and examples from past programs like the foundation's International Fellowships Program—inspires donors and institutions alike to take risks and initiate transformational programs.

September 2016

Geographic Focus:

Major Malfunction: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor;Race and Ethnicity

Major Malfunction: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study

This analysis explores bachelor's degrees earned by race and ethnicity, broken down by area of study. The report identifies the majors and programs that produce the highest and lowest median incomes (both at the start of one's career and in the middle of one's career) and probes for uneven distributions of African American and Latino students. The report finds that these students disproportionately earn more degrees in low-paying majors, and fewer degrees in the highest paying majors.

September 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Benchmark for Making College Affordable, A

Education and Literacy;Poverty

Benchmark for Making College Affordable, A

So what is "affordable?" Most concepts of affordability are based on what college should cost, not what students can afford to pay. For example, colleges and universities often set tuition based not on what students can afford but rather on what the institutions need in terms of revenue. The conversations about affordability typically begin with what college prices are, what grant aid is available, and then ultimately wind up with what students are left to pay. Instead, the student-centered model proposed here begins with what students can reasonably contribute, and then suggests that the system be built around their needs.

It is our hope that the affordability benchmark will contribute to the ongoing policy dialogue about college affordability in the coming months and years. However, instead of these conversations being shrouded in ambiguity, they can be grounded in a more specific idea of what affordability actually is.

August 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Funding the Common Core State Standards: What Have We Learned the Last Three Years?

Education and Literacy;Government Reform

Funding the Common Core State Standards: What Have We Learned the Last Three Years?

Common Core Funders Working Group leaders commissioned a capstone paper to capture insights from participants in various Working Group activities, including national and regional funders and field leaders in state policy, district implementation, professional development and teacher associations. We asked questions about the turning points in Common Core implementation, about funder roles and influence and about what they believed philanthropy should take away from its support efforts to date.

The resulting report, "Funding the Common Core State Standards: What Have We Learned the Last Three Years?" summarizes our findings and offers new food for thought for funders seeking to move forward in their support of both the Common Core State Standards and other ambitious education systems change efforts.

July 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on New York City's Expanded Success Initiative

Children and Youth;Education and Literacy;Race and Ethnicity

Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on New York City's Expanded Success Initiative

A growing number of initiatives around the country are attempting to tackle longstanding inequities, including higher rates of school dropout, incarceration, and unemployment among Black and Latino men. New York City's Young Men's Initiative (YMI) has been at the forefront of these efforts since it was launched in 2011 to address disparities in education, employment, health, and criminal justice.

YMI's educational component, the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), focuses on the issue of low college readiness among Black and Latino male students -- a problem that has persisted in NYC even as high school graduation rates have risen. ESI is providing funding and professional development to 40 NYC high schools, aimed at helping them improve outcomes, particularly college and career readiness, among their Black and Latino male students.

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is conducting a four-year evaluation of ESI's implementation and impact. This report, Changing How Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men, presents our findings from Year 2 of ESI (the 2013-2014 school year), drawing on interviews and focus groups with staff at ESI schools and a set of matched comparison schools, a student survey, and an analysis of student achievement data.

May 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (New York Metropolitan Area)

Degrees of Freedom: Expanding College Opportunities - for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Californians

Education and Literacy;Prison and Judicial Reform

Degrees of Freedom: Expanding College Opportunities - for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Californians

This report begins with a background on the higher education and criminal justice systems in California. This background section highlights the vocabulary and common pathways for each system, and provides a primer on California community colleges. Part II explains why California needs this initiative. Part III presents the landscape of existing college programs dedicated to criminal justice-involved populations in the community and in jails and prisons. This landscape identifies promising strategies and sites of innovation across the state, as well as current challenges to sustaining and expanding these programs. Part IV lays out concrete recommendations California should take to realize the vision of expanding high-quality college opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. It includes guidelines for developing high-quality, sustainable programs, building and strengthening partnerships, and shaping the policy landscape, both by using existing opportunities and by advocating for specific legislative and policy changes. Profiles of current college students and graduates with criminal records divide the sections and offer first-hand accounts of the joys and challenges of a college experience.

March 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California

Road Map Project: 2014 Results Report, The

Education and Literacy

Road Map Project: 2014 Results Report, The

The Road Map Project's annual report card shows data on 29 indicators of student success, which are important measures related to student achievement from cradle through college. Data in the report are often disaggregated by district, student race/ethnicity or income level to illustrate the region's challenges and progress.

The Road Map Project is a region-wide collective impact effort aiming to dramatically improve education results in South King County and South Seattle, the county's areas of greatest need. The project's goal is to double the number of students who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020, and to close opportunity gaps. Seven school districts -- Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Highline, Renton, Seattle (south-end only) and Tukwila -- are among the hundreds of partners working together toward the Road Map Project's 2020 goal. The 2014 results report includes a special focus on whether the region is on track to reach the goal.

February 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Washington-King County-Seattle

Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities: Report of the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education

Education and Literacy;Government Reform

Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities: Report of the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education

The federal government's substantial fiscal investment in higher education recognizes that postsecondary education is a linchpin in the nation's social and economic strength. The government helps ensure that colleges and universities continue to contribute broadly to the fabric of American society. The Department of Education is charged with developing procedures to carry out laws passed by Congress in regard to higher education and with overseeing institutional compliance. Institutions of higher learning recognize the important role regulations play in the oversight of federal investments.

This report discovered that over time, oversight of higher education by the Department of Education has expanded and evolved in ways that undermine the ability of colleges and universities to serve students and accomplish their missions. The compliance problem is exacerbated by the sheer volume of mandates -- approximately 2,000 pages of text -- and the reality that the Department of Education issues official guidance to amend or clarify its rules at a rate of more than one document per work day. As a result, colleges and universities find themselves enmeshed in a jungle of red tape, facing rules that are often confusing and difficult to comply with. They must allocate resources to compliance that would be better applied to student education, safety, and innovation in instructional delivery. Clearly, a better approach is needed.

February 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

See More Reports

Go to IssueLab