Yes We Must Coalition Receives 3-Year Capacity Building Grant

The Yes We Must Coalition (YWMC) has been awarded a 3-year, $990,545 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The funding will allow the Coalition to reach new members, facilitate more collaborative projects, and provide support for member institutions, all of which enroll 50% or more Pell-eligible students. Founded in 2011, the Coalition is guided by a mission to increase degree attainment of low-income students by promoting the work of independent, notfor-profit colleges and universities committed to this purpose. Student-centered education and evidence-based strategies drive the collaborative initiatives undertaken by members of the Coalition.

“The undergraduate students enrolled in our member institutions represent the new student majority in American education,” said Dr. Gloria Nemerowicz, Founder and President of the Coalition. “These are primarily students who are the first in their families to attend college — many from communities of color, rural Appalachia and other areas of poverty. This new funding will help the Coalition to deepen the collaborative efforts of our national network of colleges and universities in order to implement changes necessary for the success of underrepresented students.” Six collaborative projects are already underway, one of which is supporting Pelleligible STEM majors to persist to graduation. This 5-year, $4.4 million initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation and involves 6 YWMC member institutions.

Two other collaborative projects, both funded by The Teagle Foundation and each including 4 member institutions, seek to make clear curricular pathways to degree completion and to integrate liberal arts into business programs offered by the schools involved.

Other collaborative projects include a YWMC Online Consortium, a Data for Decision-Making project tracking FY15 students, a National College-to-Career Network, and two projects that tap the insights of YWMC students — a YWMC Fellows Program and Focus Groups held with Pell-eligible senior students. The Coalition also offers a Student Exchange Program among member institutions.

Information about and generated from these projects will be shared at the 2nd National YWMC Conference to be held October 24–26, 2018, at the Omni Austin Hotel Southpark, Austin, TX. The Conference will bring together post-secondary faculty, staff and administrators at member and non-member institutions, as well as other advocates for educational equity, to share strategies for change.

“The support of the Gates Foundation will enable us to extend awareness of the Coalition’s work, expand our membership, and help us serve as a catalyst for productive institutional changes that can make higher education responsive to the needs of low-income students. The Coalition welcomes new members,” said Nemerowicz. Go to www.yeswemustcoalition.org for more information.

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