How Gates Shapes State Higher-Education Policy: Over the past several years, lawmakers in dozens of states have passed laws restricting remedial college courses and tying appropriations to graduation rates. The changes have been advanced by an unusual alliance of private foundations and state policy makers who are shaping higher-education strategies in profound ways.
At the center of that effort, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has financed studies that argue for broad-scale changes aimed at pushing more students, more quickly, toward graduation. Working alongside the Lumina Foundation through intermediaries like Complete College America and another nonprofit, Jobs for the Future, the Gates foundation has helped influence higher-education policy at the state level to a degree that may be unprecedented for a private foundation. <Read more.> Via Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.
Strategic Philanthropy Comes to Higher Education: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with $36-billion in assets, is the country’s largest philanthropy, but it is not the first one to spend large sums on higher-education reform. The Rockefeller Foundation gave $45-million in the 1920s to improve medical-school education. The Ford Foundation helped create the discipline of area studies with $270-million in grants it made during the 1950s and 60s. And the Carnegie Corporation of New York sponsored dozens of academic studies in the 1960s and 70s through the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education. So what is Gates doing differently? The foundation is notable not only for its size but also for its approach: Define strategic goals from the outset, work closely with grantees, and expect measurable results from investments. The foundation also embraces advocacy, both as a way to influence policies that further its own goals and to leverage its grant-making budget by tapping into the much-larger spending by state and federal governments. Gates also works closely with like-minded foundations, including the Kresge and Lumina Foundations, to further amplify the impact of its grant making. <Read more.> Via Ben Gose, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.