Gates Foundation $20 Education Grant Proposals Due in Three Weeks

A few weeks ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation disclosed plans to fund grants, ranging in size from $250,.000 to $750,000, up to a total of $20 million, to underwrite new technology applications that can improve post secondary education.

Proposals for the initial round of funding under the initiative, which is called Next Generation Learning Challenges, are due on November 19, 2010--about three weeks from now--and winners will be announced by March 31, 2011. Every six months to one year, the program will fund requests for proposals.

The project's impetus is an impending gap in the number of qualified job applicants compared to the expected volume of open slots, the Foundation said.

In the next eight years, 63 percent of all job openings will require a college degree or credential. But access to higher education and the rate of college completion isn't keep pace. By age 30, less than half of all Americans have earned a college degree.

The effort is being led by Educause, an organization whose aim is to advance higher education through intelligent use of information technology.

The Gates Foundation not only is soliciting proposals from institutions and technologists within the education community but also from innovators and entrepreneurs outside the traditional arena.

"American education has been the best in the world, but we're falling below our own high standards of excellence for high school and college attainment," said Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We're living in a tremendous age of innovation," Gates said. "We should harness new technologies to help all students get the education they need to succeed."

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