Gates Foundation Awards $4-Million to Help 7 Cities Improve College-Completion Rates

November 04, 2009

In an effort to improve college-graduation rates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $4-million in grants to seven cities and to the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.

The grants, which were announced on Thursday, will be used to better coordinate services that colleges, public school systems, and communities provide to students. The cities are Dayton, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Mesa, Ariz.; New York; Phoenix; Riverside, Calif.; and San Francisco.

"Cities have not traditionally been focused on postsecondary success, but that is changing," said Donald Borut, executive director of the National League of Cities.

He said municipal leaders had turned their attention toward improving college-completion rates after recognizing that an educated work force is the foundation of a vibrant local economy.

The grants will support nine-month collaborative planning efforts in each of the seven cities. The foundation is considering allocating more money in 2010 to put in place, and expand, the most-promising ideas that result from the planning.