The big goal for the Lumina Foundation hasn’t changed, but the powerful foundation has come up with a new set of strategies to boost America’s proportion of college graduates to 60 percent by 2025.
The foundation’s leaders said times have changed in the four years since they assumed their role in helping to push the completion agenda. And they have new ideas about how to spend $300 million over the next four years, with focuses on building a social movement, targeting metropolitan areas and encouraging innovations based on student learning and competencies rather than the credit hour.
Lumina’s emphasis until now has been on college preparation, college success and productivity in higher education, said Jamie P. Merisotis, the foundation’s president. Those three broad areas will be replaced by five specific goals around mobilizing support and collaboration, and three that seek changes to the nation’s higher education system. He hopes the new approach will build urgency.
“There hasn’t been enough progress on the attainment agenda,” he said.
A key shift for the foundation is to a student-centric view, rather than an institutional or issue-based focus. And while Merisotis said Lumina would actually increase what it is spending on grants, the money would be aimed at areas where they feel strongly that they can add value, and they expect to see results.
Targeting metro areas can be promising, in part because workforce needs have brought employers, local governments and community organizations to the table with leaders from higher education. Dewayne Matthews, Lumina’s vice president for policy and strategy, pointed to building momentum in Memphis, Tampa and Los Angeles. (Read more.)