The U.S. Department of Education has announced the initial grants in its First in the World program designed to increase college access for more Americans and to reduce costs. More than 500 applications for grants were submitted. For consideration, colleges and universities had to submit a program that addressed at least one of these goals:
1. Increasing college access and completion.
2. Enhancing community college transfer rates.
3. Increasing enrollment and completion rates in STEM fields.
4. Reducing the time to degree completion.
The Department of Education selected 24 programs and is providing $75 million in funding. Among the institutions awarded grants, only one was a historically Black university. Hampton University in Virginia received $3.5 million to redesign many of its courses to use more project-based learning and technology tools. The university estimates that 1,000 students will benefit from the grant program over the next four years.