College Spark Mission College Spark funds programs that help low- income students become college-ready and earn their degrees. We make grants to organizations and institutions throughout Washington state that are helping low-income students improve their academic achievement, prepare for college life, and graduate from college.
College Spark Areas of Focus Academic Preparation Connecting Education to Career College-Going Culture Alignment Enhanced Data Systems Educator Capacity Dual Enrollment College Readiness Retention/Persistence Gatekeeper Course Completion Transition from pre-college college level Avoiding remediation or improving placement score Policy analysis and improvements Retention and Degree Completion
Types of Grants Available Planning Grants Capacity-Building Grants Research or Evaluation Projects Coalition-Building Projects
Selection Criteria Mission alignment, low-income students Sustainability, strong partnerships Evidence based improvements OR innovative approach coupled with assessment strategy Learning opportunity Improving programs, organizations, or systems
Assessing Impact Capacity-building, serving students directly College readiness: academic indicators (grades, test scores, attendance) Degree completion: Student Achievement Initiative momentum points (retention, progress through pre- college, gatekeeper course completion, degree/credential) Increases in college knowledge and/or mindset; other social/emotional indicators Must include a baseline or comparison
Assessing Impact Coalition-Building: a comparison that assesses improvements in members’ effectiveness or capacity. Planning: range of individuals involved in the planning; will plan be used to improve program, organization, or system? Evaluation/Research: Generating new knowledge about what works in college readiness/completion.
Application Timeline RFP released on 9/19/2011 LOI Webinars 9/26/11 and 9/28/11 LOI due by 10/17/11 LOI is an online form. In addition, two hard copies of the LOI and attachments must arrive at College Spark by due date of October 17. Packet must be printed from completed online LOI form. If you will be invited to submit a full proposal, you will be notified by 12/19/2011 Webinar for invited applicants on 12/28/11 and 1/4/12 Two copies of Application and materials due to College Spark by 1/27/12; packet must be printed from completed web application. Grant awards announced April 23, 2012 May – June: Finalize measurable objectives and distribute Grant Agreements
Online LOI Project description Target population, geographic regions served Project cost and amount of request Focus area (Readiness, Retention/Completion, or both) Grant type (Planning, Capacity-Building, Research/Evaluation, Coalition) Contact and Application Type Percentage of persons served that are low-income and how you verify that Program history Project description: what are your activities and outcomes? If applicable, partnerships or systems-level improvements planned If project does not provide services directly to low-income students, explain how they will benefit Detailed Project Description What will change as a result of this program or project? How will this grant improve your program, organization, or system? How does this program or project relate to College Spark’s focus areas and funding priorities? Impact and Alignment
Budgets and Financials Organizational Level Finances Program or Department Level Financials Project Budget Allowable expenses Broken out by year Include other funding sources Describe how remaining funds needed will be secured including pending and planned sources of funding and decision dates