Thursday, May 16, 2019

Gates Foundation Launches Major Higher Ed Initiative | Education News | US News

Gates Foundation Launches Major Higher Ed Initiative | Education News | US News

Gates Foundation Asks: Is College Worth It?
The philanthropic group plans to spend the next year studying the question to guide its upcoming investments.


THE BILL AND MELINDA Gates Foundation, the philanthropic and sometimes controversial group whose funding has influenced major education policy decisions in the U.S., is launching a new higher education initiative to answer the question, "Is college worth it?"
"More than at any other time I can remember, students and families across America are asking themselves, is college worth it,'" Sue Desmond-Hellmann, president of the Gates Foundation, said. "As the cost of a credential rises and student debt goes to record levels, people are actually asking a question I never thought I'd hear, 'Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?' This question of value needs to be addressed, and we feel that it needs to be addressed urgently."
To that end, the foundation has convened a 30-person commission to evaluate the returns of education after high school, especially for low-income students and students of color.
Desmond-Hellmann said the foundation plans to use the commission's conclusions to make investment decisions, though it has not allotted a specific amount of money to the effort yet, nor has it outlined preordained policy proposals it's seeking to back.
The Gates Foundation spends about half a billion dollars each year on its U.S. programs, but Desmond-Hellmann said she's "excited" that the commission' work could increase result in new investments in higher education.
"I expect new investments, but we'll make announcements when the investments are ready," she said.
"Our experience has been that – given the diversity of thought, the importance of this issue and that we will actually make investments – that really pulls people together and drives the kinds of outcomes we want so that the public and the thought leadership group will care," she added.
The three-pronged goal of the commission is to develop a definition of the value of college, create a way to measure how individual colleges and universities create value for students – CONTINUE READING: Gates Foundation Launches Major Higher Ed Initiative | Education News | US News

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