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OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
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Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education - Innovation With Impact In Postsecondary Education
Information Adapted From the 2005 FIPSE Brochure
Archived Information

Purpose and Philosophy

The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education has a record of supporting meaningful and lasting solutions to emerging problems in postsecondary education and of promoting the highest quality education for all learners. FIPSE awards grants that support innovative educational reform ideas, evaluates how well they work, and shares the lessons learned with the larger education community.

FIPSE grants

  • Focus on salient issues and problems in postsecondary education;

  • Fund initiatives that have potential for national significance;

  • Are comprehensive, addressing a variety of problems and a wide range of institutions and learners;

  • Are action-oriented, focused on the implementation of innovative ideas rather than on basic research; and

  • Support unproven as well as proven ideas.

Comprehensive Program

The Comprehensive Program is FIPSE’s primary grant competition. It supports innovative, replicable education improvement projects that respond to problems of national significance at the postsecondary level. Specific priorities for funding are announced annually.

FIPSE supports a wide range of non-profit providers of educational services. Eligible grantees include: public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities; graduate and professional schools; community organizations; libraries; museums; trade and technical schools; consortia; student groups; state and local government agencies; non-profit corporations; associations; and other non-profit organizations.

For more information about the Comprehensive Program, the application process, program deadlines, and funding for the current fiscal year, see the Comprehensive Program Web site.

International Programs

FIPSE administers four international consortia programs that are co-funded by FIPSE and its foreign government partners. Programs support: multilateral, multi-institutional collaboration; student exchange; faculty cooperation and exchange; shared and common curricula; mutual recognition of credits; acquisition of host country languages; and apprenticeships and other work activities.

The Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education is run cooperatively by FIPSE in the United States, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) in Mexico. The program funds collaborative consortia of at least two academic institutions from two or more states or provinces in each country for four years.

The European Union-United States Atlantis Program is run cooperatively by FIPSE and the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC). Each consortium consists of postsecondary institutions from different member states in the European Union (funded by the EC) and the United States (funded by FIPSE). The program funds joint or dual undergraduate degrees in a wide range of academic and professional disciplines for four years.

The U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program is run cooperatively by FIPSE in the United States and the Fundaçcão Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) in Brazil. This program funds collaborative consortia of at least two academic institutions from each country for four years.

The United States-Russia Program provides grants that demonstrate partnerships between Russian and American institutions of higher education that contribute to the development and promotion of educational opportunities between the two nations, particularly in the areas of mutual foreign language learning and the cooperative study of mathematics and science.

FIPSE Resources

FIPSE has numerous resources available through its Web site,

Highlights include the following:

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
Office of Postsecondary Education
U.S. Department of Education
1990 K Street, N.W.—6th Floor
Washington, DC 20006-8544
Telephone.: (202) 502-7500
Fax: (202) 502-7877
Web site:
Metro stations: Farragut North (Red Line); Farragut West (Blue & Orange Lines); and M Street N.W., Foggy Bottom (Blue & Orange Lines)

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Last Modified: 06/10/2010