First in the World
Institutions of higher education and consortia of such institutions are eligible to apply. Applicants are encouraged (but not required) to partner with other public and private organizations and agencies. To qualify as an eligible minority-serving institutions (MSI) under the First in the World (FITW) Program, an institution must indicate that it meets eligibility criteria established in Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act.
The competition in FY2014 will run with a single evidence tier awarding development grants only. All applications must meet the evidence standard of strong theory as the entry point and all applications must submit a logic model. Applicants may submit a rationale for any intervention(s) that has not been tried or that only has been marginally considered and explored at the applicant institution or elsewhere. (Additional evidence is encouraged via competitive preference priority – see below.)
Applicants must address one of the following absolute priorities:
- Increasing Access and Completion for Underrepresented, Underprepared, or Low-Income Students
- Increasing Community College Transfer Rates to Four-year Colleges for Underrepresented, Underprepared, or Low-Income Students
- Increasing Enrollment and Completion of Underrepresented, Underprepared, or Low-Income Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degree and Certificate Programs
- Reducing Time to Completion, Especially for Underrepresented, Underprepared, or Low-Income Students
- Improving College Affordability, Especially for Underrepresented, Underprepared, or Low-Income Students
Applicants demonstrating evidence of promise to support their project design may receive two competitive preference points as part of the competition. Applicants addressing this priority will submit as supporting evidence correlational studies, randomized control trials, or quasi-experimental design studies, the latter two of which require review by ED’s Institute of Education Sciences.
Congress appropriated $75 million for the FY2014 competition, which includes a set-aside of up to $20 million for MSIs. The Department anticipates awarding 19-38 grants through FITW, in the range of $2-4 million each (with an average grant of $3 million).
The Notice Inviting Applications was published in the Federal Register on May 16, 2014 for a 45-day application period closing on June 30, 2014. Awards must be made by September 30, 2014.