At the beginning of August, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a public notice inviting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to apply for the (FY) 2022 College Completion Fund for Postsecondary Student Success competitive grant program. This Postsecondary Student Success Program (PSSP) aims to improve postsecondary graduation rates for students close to completion, whether for students currently enrolled in higher education or for those who are no longer enrolled due to challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic who are also close to completion.
Given HBCUs mission to serve African Americans and students from low-income families, SEF encourages all HBCUs to apply for the PSSP grants. We know HBCUs have a tremendous value proposition. For example, HBCUs make up three percent of all non-profit two- and four-year colleges and universities but educate ten percent of all African American undergraduates and award 24 percent of STEM bachelor degrees earned by African Americans. This PSSP grant opportunity supports the implementation of effective completion policies and builds institutional capacity for higher education institutions that have been underfunded for generations.
Congress created the College Completion Fund for Postsecondary Student Success Program in the FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill. This program aims to improve student outcomes, including retention, transfer, credit accumulation, and completion, by augmenting evidence-based activities already underway at eligible higher education institutions. The PSSP grant includes one absolute priority and one invitational priority. The absolute priority requires applicants to submit postsecondary student outcome reform strategies that meet the “promising evidence” definition outlined in ED’s grant notice. The invitational priority is for the participation of HBCU and MSI community colleges as well.
ED’s estimated annual average grant award amount will range from $600k – $1 million, administered to roughly 5-8 successful grantees.
- August 12, 2022: The application became available.
- October 11, 2022: Deadline for transmittal of applications.
- December 12, 2022: Deadline for intergovernmental review.
- Investing in the Future: Lessons on Advancing Institutional Effectiveness from HBCUs (Southern Education Foundation)
- Untold Barriers for Black Students in Higher Education (Southern Education Foundation)
- Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone (Southern Education Foundation)
- Greater Funding, Greater Needs: A Report on Funding for HBCUs (UNCF)
- Small Business Administration: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (GAO)
By Fred Jones, Sr. Director of Public Policy & Advocacy