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U.S. Department of Education Announces Fiscal Year 2021 Grant Awards to Showcase Commitment to Equity, Excellence, and Opportunity

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) announced it is on track to award more than 5,100 grants, totaling around $2.6 billion dollars, to new and existing grantees by September 30, 2021. Grants provided by the Department under these programs will directly serve more than 1.3 million students and millions more attending institutions with approved projects. The grant programs are diverse and unique but share the same objective to address critical challenges that impede students’ postsecondary opportunity and success. These grants are in addition to the nearly $40 billion in emergency grants for postsecondary education provided to more than 5,000 institutions under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the grants during his visit to Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College in Michigan as part of the Department’s Return to School Road Trip.

“Through these federal grants, the Department is furthering its mission to expand access to opportunity at every level of our education system. These grants serve a variety of purposes—from increasing students’ readiness for postsecondary education to bolstering the capacity of colleges,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “While each of these programs is unique, together they share the important aim of advancing equity in education and helping every student with dreams and determination to achieve their potential. I’m proud to make this announcement as I visit a tribal college as part of the Department’s Return to School Road Trip, celebrating schools and institutions welcoming students back to in-person learning this fall.”

The grants announced today reaffirm the Department’s commitment to equity and educational access across the postsecondary spectrum, geographic region, and college type. Many of the grantees are institutions of higher education that have been historically under-served, under-resourced, and often expected to do more with less.

Supporting Minority Serving Institutions

The Department will award more than 300 grants in FY2021 to help build the academic capacity and fiscal stability of institutions that enroll large proportions of minority and financially disadvantaged students. Minority-serving institutions serve significant proportions of our nation’s Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander students and strengthen the cultural and economic forces that fuel our national and local communities.

The Department invested close to $1 billion in the nation’s most under-resourced institutions and communities, including more than $500 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), more than $65 million to Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCU), nearly $300 million to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)—the majority of which are Hispanic Serving Institutions—and more than $100 million to under-resourced institutions eligible for the Strengthening Institutions Programs. These funds are in addition to the billions of dollars already awarded to hundreds of HBCU, TCCU, and MSI institutions to support pandemic recovery efforts through the American Rescue Plan.

Supporting low-income, first-generation students and individuals with high needs

The Department also announced grants to help students progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to graduate school, in addition to programs focused on college readiness, campus-based childcare and graduate fellowships. Grants awarded in FY2021 include:

  • More than $1 billion for current and new grantees under the TRIO programs to help low-income, first-generation, and disabled students navigate the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs.
  • More than $360 million awarded to over 150 partnerships and states participating in Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), which is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
  • Over $22 million awarded in Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) grants, which provide support to student parents to complete their degrees, pursue careers, and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
  • More than $10 million to provide inclusive opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities through the Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities and the National Technical Assistance Coordinating Center.
  • More than $20 million in new awards through the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program to support academically successful graduate students of low-income backgrounds in courses of study in a field designated as an area of national need.
  • Nearly $14 million to institutions to support veteran student success and develop low or no-cost open educational resources, such as textbooks and course materials, to students.

Global competitiveness

The Department is awarding an additional $76.6 million to new and existing grantees to fund programs in FY2021 that support global competencies, multilingual communication, and cultural engagement to strengthen U.S. capacity to meet ever-evolving national security needs. Some of these innovative projects also provide students with a broader understanding of and exposure to the global business opportunities available in today’s industries.

These programs showcase the Department’s ongoing and concerted efforts to establish priorities that expand learning, equitable opportunities, and career training opportunities for all students, especially those who have been under-served. Through support of historically under-resourced institutions and funding programs that focus on college readiness and postsecondary success, the Department is doubling down on its goal of resilience, equitable recovery and ensuring that our nation’s colleges and universities can build back better.

Information about the Office of Postsecondary Education, including applying for future grant opportunities, can be found here. Grantees and total funding will be updated through November on each program website.

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