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Cities Get Grant Money and Expertise to Boost College Completion Rates

Twenty U.S. cities will receive up to $200,000 in money and technical expertise from the Lumina Foundation to help boost the number of students who complete postsecondary education in their communities, officials announced Wednesday.

The initial $4 million gift is the first rollout in a program that will include 75 cities within the next year and is designed to support efforts already underway in cities to promote college completion.

The Lumina Foundation, based in Indianapolis, is national, private endowment focused on higher education attainment that has set as its goal for 60 percent of Americans to have some form of postsecondary credential or degree by 2025.

This summer, the foundation released a ranking of cities and states by college degree attainment, noting that metro areas were prime locations to invest higher education. The 20 cities in this first cohort were invited to participate in this program based on their work in setting college-attainment goals and action plans, identifying a specific population or issue for outreach, and establishing relationships with a variety of partners.

"The baseline in our education system can no longer be a high school diploma. It simply is not sufficient. The new baseline for the majority of Americans needs to be a high-quality, postsecondary education credential," said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina in a conference call with reporters yesterday. "Communities are absolutely key to getting to this new finish line."

The first 20 cities chosen to receive funding and assistance include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; the Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio; Santa Ana, Calif.; South Seattle/South King County, Wash.; and Syracuse, N.Y.

With the new initiative over three years, Lumina will provide resources, knowledge, expertise and financial support to cities, as well as create a network for communities to learn from one another, said Merisotis.

[The Lumina Foundation also supports Education Week coverage of P-16 alignment.)

The first cohort of communities includes: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Ana, Calif.; South Seattle/South King County, Wash. and Syracuse, N.Y..

"If you intend to be a great 21st century city, increased education attainment has to be at the heart of everything you do," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "This partnership is a real game changer because it opens the door to a host of powerful resources that we--and all cities across the country--need to be effective. This initiative will help us further develop our workforce, grow our economy and empower our citizens."

Lumina plans to invest approximately $4 million into the first cohort. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 over a three-year period which will be tied to achievement of goals. The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

- See more at: http://www.luminafoundation.org/newsroom/news_releases/2013-12-04.html#sthash.KdcI5DRo.dpuf

The first cohort of communities includes: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Ana, Calif.; South Seattle/South King County, Wash. and Syracuse, N.Y..

"If you intend to be a great 21st century city, increased education attainment has to be at the heart of everything you do," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "This partnership is a real game changer because it opens the door to a host of powerful resources that we--and all cities across the country--need to be effective. This initiative will help us further develop our workforce, grow our economy and empower our citizens."

Lumina plans to invest approximately $4 million into the first cohort. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 over a three-year period which will be tied to achievement of goals. The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

- See more at: http://www.luminafoundation.org/newsroom/news_releases/2013-12-04.html#sthash.KdcI5DRo.dpuf

The first cohort of communities includes: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Ana, Calif.; South Seattle/South King County, Wash. and Syracuse, N.Y..

"If you intend to be a great 21st century city, increased education attainment has to be at the heart of everything you do," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "This partnership is a real game changer because it opens the door to a host of powerful resources that we--and all cities across the country--need to be effective. This initiative will help us further develop our workforce, grow our economy and empower our citizens."

Lumina plans to invest approximately $4 million into the first cohort. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 over a three-year period which will be tied to achievement of goals. The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

- See more at: http://www.luminafoundation.org/newsroom/news_releases/2013-12-04.html#sthash.KdcI5DRo.dpuf
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