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Shaping Equitable and Sustainable College Promise Programs: CoPro2.0 is a $2.6 million grant initiative launched in June 2021 to support the next generation of free college programs. Grants will be announced in Fall 2021.

Funding Streams

Program Innovation and Redesign

Research on Financial Sustainability

Strategic Local Implementation

Community colleges play a vital role in providing postsecondary opportunities for people from underserved groups and advancing the well-being of local communities. Yet many community colleges are experiencing enrollment declines, financial constraints, and tensions about how to best serve varied student needs with available resources.

Free college programs, or “College Promise,” offers a solution. When done right, growing evidence shows College Promise programs help move America toward a more affordable college ecosystem and greater numbers of college graduates. But College Promise programs vary widely in how they’re implemented, what funding covers, what supports are in place, and what populations benefit. Additionally, free tuition alone doesn’t close equity gaps. The best College Promise Programs ensure all student populations, especially low-income and students of color, benefit.

CoPro.2.0 is a $2.6 million funding opportunity through which Kresge will award up to seven multi-year grants that will support College Promise programs that incorporate equitable, sustainable practices into their design. It will also fund additional research into financial sustainability structures and help local programs implement the Biden-Harris Administration’s free-college program proposal.

Separately and together, funded projects are expected to show how college promise programs at community colleges can:

  • Advance equity and help dismantle systemic racism;
  • Improve postsecondary outcomes for historically marginalized populations;
  • Reinforce the capacity of community colleges to provide high-quality post-secondary education and improve the well-being of students and local communities; and
  • Partner with other organizations to leverage resources and maximize program contributions to ensure long-term sustainability.

Concept papers are invited for projects that focus on Programming Innovations and Redesign, Research on Financial Sustainability, and Strategic Implementation Guidance for the Biden-Harris Administration’s tuition-free community college proposal.

CoPro2.0 Resources

CoPro2.0 Strategy Memo

This informational primer,  prepared by Laura Perna, helped Kresge prepare to launch its College Promise funding opportunity, CoPro2.0. Drawing from a review of recent research and news articles, interviews with…


CoPro2.0 Fluxx Guide

A guide to the Fluxx system for any parties interested in submitting a concept paper for the Education Program’s CoPro2.0 funding opportunity. Concept papers are due August 9, 2021.


CoPro2.0 Appendix 2: FAQs

On June 30, the Kresge Education Program opened a funding opportunity with a Request for Concept Papers for a new initiative called CoPro2.0: Shaping Equitable and Sustainable College Promise Programs.…


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