Next Generation Learning Challenges: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) is largely backed by the Gates Foundation, and is driven by innovation in areas such as competency-based learning and innovative incorporation of technology to improve student outcomes in high school graduation and college readiness and completion. Its four program areas are focused on K-12 and university education.

IP TAKE: NGLC’s guiding principles remain consistent, but its particular funding priorities appear to shift regularly. Check the Grants Opportunities page or sign up for the network’s newsletter to stay on top of new grant announcements.

PROFILE: Next Generation Learning Challenges describes itself as “a network of educators, innovators, technologists, and philanthropic foundations” focused on “tapping the potential of technology to improve college readiness and completion, particularly for low-income young adults.” Funded mainly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NGLC’s many partners include heavy hitters in the education world, such as the Dell and Broad Foundations.

While higher education institutions are not the foundation’s main priority, colleges and universities may seek funding for research into the following Challenges:

  • Designing for Equity promotes student-centered pedagogy that “values social and emotional growth alongside academic achievement, takes a cultural lens on strengths and competencies, and equips students with the power and skills to address injustice in their schools and communities.”

  • New Designs for Schools seeks pedagogical approaches that “lead to better learning outcomes and have the potential to scale, with the ultimate goal of reversing stagnant academic progress and an unacceptable achievement gap among K-12 students.”

  • Building Community supports “educators connecting with other educators, creating local momentum that spreads quickly and widely through networks.”

  • Professional Learning supports teacher training that is “is ongoing, iterative, collaborative, culturally relevant, focused on mastering competencies through authentic experiences, and data-driven.”

  • Enabling Change seeks to create “an education system that is dynamic and flexible, adapting at the speed in which our culture and world are changing.”

NGLC does not publicize its grant amounts, and the process for starting an application is unclear. Take a look at the NGLC Grant Recipients interactive map for more information about particular awardees.

NGLC’s specific funding projects appear to change somewhat frequently, so it is important to keep up to date on open grant opportunities, either by visiting the site directly or by signing up for their newsletter. Note that information on the website may be out of date.


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