|On the eve of the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday will announce a $34.8 million, five-year commitment to raise stagnant completion rates in the nation's two-year public institutions.
Lagging completion rates in two-year colleges are seen as a major impediment to meeting the Obama administration's goal of regaining the world lead in college degrees by 2020. Barely one student in five completes community college with an associate degree or certificate, according to federal data. An additional share of students successfully transfers to four-year institutions.
The White House Summit will convene Tuesday, with second lady Jill Biden - an instructor at Northern Virginia Community College - leading a discussion of how two-year colleges can contribute to the national graduation goal.
The Gates initiative, Completion By Design, will seek applications from groups of community colleges in nine target states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington. As many as five proposals will be funded, based on their prospects for success.