“First in the World” Grants Awarded to Northeastern, SNHU

On Tuesday September 30, The Department of Education awarded Northeastern University and fellow NEC member Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) $3.9 million as part of the “First in the World” grant which focuses on supporting initiatives to make higher education more accessible and help guide students toward completion.

Northeastern is launching an innovative effort to increase degree completion within science, technology, engineering, and math fields. NU’s Lowell Institute School will become the first in the nation to focus on STEM degree completion for non-traditional students who have some undergraduate credit and want to attain a bachelor’s degree. The grant, bolstered by philanthropic donations to the University, will help Northeastern expand the Lowell School’s mission to support working adults complete their degree. The school will incorporate a robust experiential learning program and career-services component as well, tailored to meet the unique needs of non-traditional students.  Also through the grant, Northeastern will enroll approximately 200 to 250 community college transfer students and will launch an education innovation incubator where faculty and industry practitioners will conduct collaborative research to help attain the ultimate goal of lowering the cost of delivery to students while increasing learning retention and degree completion rates.

SNHU will use the grant to build upon its competency-based “College for America” (CfA) model by developing more support to help academically underprepared adults become successful college students. In 2013, CfA became the nation’s first competency-based, fully accredited higher education provider to be approved for federal financial aid independent of the traditional credit hour model. Since then the program has enrolled over 1,000 students.

“As the economy has grown and shifted, this program has adapted by modernizing its curriculum to make it more career-​driven and relevant to the industry and educational needs of working adults,” said John LaBrie, dean of Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, of which the Lowell Institute is a part. “Students will graduate better prepared to make a real impact in STEM fields.”

The “First in the World” grant was awarded to only 24 schools out of 500, and Northeastern and SNHU rose to the top through their innovative programs. The New England Council congratulates both schools on receiving the grant award and thanks them for their dedication to expanding college access and improving student experiences.


Read more in Northeastern’s press release

Or SNHU’s press release

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