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Focus Area

Institutional Capacity Building For Student Success

We seek to help colleges reform outdated ways of working to better ensure student success in the 21st century. We also support colleges with an explicit focus on serving underrepresented students – such as minority-serving institutions, community colleges and public universities – carry out their missions and better help students succeed.

Colleges and universities are the most critical part of the path to earning a degree or high-quality credential. Yet many institutional practices make it difficult for students, especially those attending college for the first time, to succeed. Students may experience lackluster or nonexistent advising, face confusing pathways to degrees, struggle to transfer courses from one campus to another, or be forced to take ineffective developmental courses that bear no credits or derail students’ paths to completion. These and other institutional barriers have made successful, on-time graduation the exception to the rule rather than the norm. We work with colleges and universities to reform these outdated ways of working to better ensure student success in the 21st century.

A Commitment to Student Success

All colleges enroll some first-generation students, often from low-income households or underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. But certain colleges do so with an explicit and scaled commitment to increased access and student success. Community colleges, minority-serving institutions and public institutions make it their mission to support these students along the path to college success. We support efforts to give these institutions the resources they need to join national networks dedicated to student success, to reform on-campus practices to ensure students succeed, and to develop robust business models so they can flourish now and in the future.

We focus our work on three special geographic interest areas:

  • The Kresge Foundation has three focus cities: Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans.
  • The Education Program has four focus states: California, Florida, Michigan and Texas.
  • The Education Program also partners with educational institutions in South Africa.