Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education - Comprehensive Program

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Program Office: Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

CFDA Number: 84.116
Program Type: Discretionary/Competitive Grants
Also Known As: FIPSE, Comprehensive Program

Program Description

The program supports and disseminates innovative reform projects that promise to be models for improving the quality of postsecondary education and increasing student access.

Types of Projects

Awards are made in a number of areas including: postsecondary education access; retention and completion; student preparation for college; cost-effectiveness; and curricula reform.

What makes a successful FIPSE Comprehensive Project?

  1. Projects are innovative in goal, method, scope, target population, cost, or efficiency.
  2. Projects possess clear and specific goals that relate to student learning, faculty development, or institutional change.
  3. Projects articulate specific objectives that can be assessed for success, partial success, or failure in a manner that an educated non-specialist would find convincing.
  4. A successful application should have a clear statement about how the proposed project is expected to impact the campus and/or the field five years after it has been completed.
  5. Projects, if demonstrated to be successful, have game-changing implications for how some aspect of postsecondary education is done on a regional or a national level.
  6. Projects are well-managed and meet all specific grant requirements.
  7. Project directors demonstrate that they have made efforts to summarize activities, procedures, and results and then disseminate them to the target audience within the postsecondary education community either through presentations, publications, Web sites, or training workshops.

Please click on this link to view the Google Map showing current projects for all FIPSE competitive grant programs, including the Comprehensive Program.

Additional Information

The Comprehensive Program is the central grant competition of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The competition is designed to support innovative reform projects that hold promise as models for the resolution of important issues and problems in postsecondary education.

Several characteristics of the Comprehensive Program make it unique among Federal programs.

  • It is inclusive. All nonprofit institutions and organizations offering postsecondary education programs are eligible to receive FIPSE grants. Those grants may be in support of any academic discipline, program, or  student support service.

  • It is action-oriented. Although FIPSE will consider proposals to assess existing reforms, or to study the feasibility of reforms in the development stage, it does not ordinarily support basic research. The Comprehensive Program supports a wide range of practical reform initiatives and assists grantees in assessing their results and disseminating what is learned to other institutions and agencies.

  • It encourages bold thinking and innovative projects. The resources of the Comprehensive Program are devoted to new ideas and practices and to the dissemination of proven innovations to others. FIPSE will support controversial or unconventional projects, as long as they are well justified, carefully designed, and responsibly managed.

  • It is responsive to practitioners. In its Agenda for Improvement, FIPSE identifies common issues and problems affecting postsecondary education and invites applicants to address these or other problems imaginatively. The Comprehensive Program welcomes proposals addressing any and all topics of postsecondary improvement and reform.


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Last Modified: 04/21/2014