Lumina Foundation Announces Grants to Advance Degree Completion

The Lumina Foundation for Education has announced nineteen grants totaling $14.8 million to help advance adult degree attainment through a series of interconnected projects that aim to engage, motivate, and help students to return to college to complete their degrees.

According to the foundation, thirty-seven million adults between the ages of 25 and 64 (more than 20 percent of the working-age population) have not earned a degree or credential despite having attended a college. The grants, which range from $250,000 to almost $1.3 million, provide support for large-scale projects that aim to educate and retrain workers who need to improve their skills in order to compete for jobs that will be created over the next decade, most of which will require some form of postsecondary education degree or credential. Through the projects, the foundation expects to reach some 6.6 million adults who have prior college credits.

As part of the foundation's strategy, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education will develop a new learning network to support Lumina's adult degree completion commitment. Among other things, WICHE will work to implement mechanisms for effective national-level networking, communication, and dissemination of adult completion efforts such as conferences, policy briefs, lessons learned, and hosted "lab" visits to best-practice locations.

"There is growing evidence that adults who have gone to college but not received a degree are looking for a second chance but need the right kind of information and motivation to help them succeed," said Lumina president and CEO Jamie Merisotis. "This vital work aligns directly with our goal to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Given demographic trends and attainment rates among young adults, it is highly unlikely that the nation can meet its growing need for college-educated workers only by focusing on recent high school graduates."

For a complete list of grants, visit the Lumina Foundation Web site.