Student-Centered Partnerships and Collaboration in Higher Ed

Posted by Transformational Partnerships Fund on March 30, 2021

New Fund Encourages Institutions of Higher Education to Pursue Partnerships, Collaboration

Colleges and universities collectively enrolled about 560,000 fewer undergraduates in the fall of 2020, a 3.6 percent decrease from 2019, according to December 2020 data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Losses were steepest at community colleges and among first-time students, including many students of color. Moreover, according to The College Stress Test (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020), 19 percent of all Black students currently enrolled in college or university are attending an institution that is at risk of failure. TPF.

Established by the ECMC Foundation and SeaChange Capital Partners, with additional founding support from Ascendium Education Group and the Kresge Foundation, the Transformational Partnerships Fund (TPF) will provide colleges and universities with support to explore student-centric partnerships and collaborations that could meaningfully transform how they operate and enhance their ability to provide reliable, high-quality educational opportunities for students. TPF will consider partnerships in all forms, ranging from mergers to shared administrative services and consolidated academic offerings.

Catalytic grants (up to $100,000 per exploration) will be available to help schools engage technical assistance providers knowledgeable in law, finance, governance, fundraising, human resources, and/or other related fields. TPF also will provide free access to relevant resources collected from its advisors, its network, and other third-parties. Institutions seeking assistance can approach the fund with the assurance that all discussions will remain confidential.

With an initial budget of $2.5 million, the TPF envisions serving as many as twenty pairs of institutions over its first three years and has the capacity to expand the opportunity as circumstances demand.

To qualify for support, one or more of the participating institutions must serve a student population that is at least 25 percent persons of color and/or where 40 percent meet the financial criteria for Pell eligibility. The partnership should also be expected to produce materially better academic outcomes for students attending one or more of the institutions.

TPF welcomes all inquiries from institutions of higher education. For additional information, see the Transformational Partnerships Fund website.

Deadline: Rolling (Initial Inquiries)

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