On February 6, 2018, Strong Start to Finish (SSTF) announced awarded grants totaling $8,525,000 to higher education systems committed to get students onto successful pathways to college completion while addressing attainment gaps for historically-underserved populations.
Forty-seven letters of interest in the grant opportunity were submitted by states, higher education systems, regional consortia and metropolitan areas committed to integrating developmental education and guided pathways reforms in ways that will empower low-income students, students of color and returning adults to pass college math and English courses and enter a program of study by the end of their first academic year.
Nine entities were invited to submit full proposals, each of which underwent extensive review by members of the SSTF Expert Advisory Board, philanthropic leaders and SSTF staff using a standardized scoring rubric. All nine proposals were strong but four emerged as exemplary for their use of evidence-based practices and commitment to achieve greater equity. Each of the following will receive $2.1 million over three years and each presents a unique context for learning how systems can effectively support student success in the first year of college. In the aggregate, hundreds of thousands of students will be served during the term of the grant.
Two of the four were from New York State:
- City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY will use SSTF funds to steadily replace traditional, stand-alone remedial courses with expanded versions of existing high-impact co-requisite courses. Faculty at all ten associate-granting colleges will be engaged in designing and implementing new courses aligned with degree maps. CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) will benefit more than 25,000 students every year, at least 70 percent of whom will be black or Hispanic and 65 percent of whom will be Pell grant recipients. CUNY aims to double the numbers of new students completing both math and English gateway courses each year, from 8,200 to 16,000, and drastically shrink achievement gaps between black or Hispanic students and Asian or white students.
- State University of New York (SUNY). SUNY is the largest postsecondary system in the nation. All 30 of its community colleges and nine four-year colleges will be directly engaged in the SSTF grant. Developmental education will transform to become an “on-ramp” to guided pathways with multiple measures for placement, advising reforms and integrated student supports to ensure access and equity and help more students of color, low income students and returning adults to succeed. SSTF funds will be used to expand use of Quantway/Statway Math Pathways to ensure that students enroll and succeed in math classes appropriate to their chosen academic area; supports needed for success in English will also be expanded systemwide.