Kresge Foundation Announces Competition to Boost Number of College Grads in Urban Centers

The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced that more than fifty metropolitan areas have entered its $1 million Talent Dividend Prize competition, which aims to boost college attainment in U.S. cities by 1 percent.

Supported by Kresge and the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education, the prize will be awarded to the metropolitan area with the greatest increase in the number of post-secondary degrees granted per capita over three years. The metropolitan area that wins can use the prize to launch a national promotional campaign centered on talent development. Kresge also announced that it will award up to $570,000 in $10,000 challenge grants to cities that secure a like amount of support from donors to support local college achievement.

According to CEOs for Cities, the nonprofit organization that will award the prize, a 1 percent increase in college attainment would spur an estimated $124 billion a year in increased earnings nationwide. "There are huge financial gains that can be achieved through small improvements in educational attainment in our cities," said CEOs for Cities president and CEO Lee Fisher. "This competition is part of our ongoing effort to generate awareness — and ultimately action — among urban leaders of the potential economic returns that can be achieved by increasing the rate of college degrees by just 1 percentage point. Simply put, the more educated a city's population, the more robust its economy will be."