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In the News: Bill & Melinda Gates Supporting Community Colleges

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This is kind of old news, as the article is from back in November, but I came across this great story from Fortunate Magazine about the Gates Foundation changing its philanthropic approach to education.

It looks like the Foundation’s initial work in education, which had been focused on inner city high schools, wasn’t netting the results they would have liked to have seen. So, now America’s richest couple is trying a new strategy, which includes a significant investment on community colleges across the nation.

According to the article, Gates — a college dropout himself (albeit from Harvard) — is especially concerned about the fact that less than 20 percent of lower income students who start college actually finish it. The goal of the Gates Foundation’s new educational initiative is, therefore, to double the number of college graduates from among at-risk populations (primarily minorities with low incomes) by the year 2025. I smell new scholarship opportunities!

I think this program is especially interesting since most educational philanthropists are focused on early intervention — meaning elementary school, or middle school at the very oldest. The Gates, on the other hand, are trying to affect broad-scale social change — not only in educational quality but also in terms of other social challenges such as poverty and joblessness.

Do you currently attend community college? Have you heard about this new Gates initiative coming to your campus?

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