WASHINGTON, July 23, 2020 — The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has received a $1.6 million grant from Ascendium Education Group as part of Ascendium’s $10 million Maintain Momentum for Student Success initiative that will allow postsecondary education networks and membership organizations to continue engaging their members in reform work amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The grant will ensure institutions serving students with the most financial need can maintain their critical student success work during this time. Selection criteria are based on campuses having at least 40% Pell-eligible students, their level of engagement with the association, and cumulative total years of AASCU membership.
“Our members serve the nation’s new majority (first-generation, low-income and/or students of color), our nation’s most vulnerable student populations. These students are at risk now more than ever in these unprecedented times,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “This grant will ensure AASCU can continue working with our members to provide crucial support to our communities and advance social mobility for students of all backgrounds, positively affecting them, their families, and their communities for generations to come. Many of our members have been with AASCU for more than 20 years. We could not exist without their support.”
The grant will also go toward programmatic support. During the COVID-19 crisis, AASCU has transitioned several in-person leadership development academies and meetings to either entirely virtual or hybrid programs. The association has also offered new webinars and online resources while continuing to advocate for our institutions with policymakers and in the media.
“Over the years, Ascendium and other funders have invested millions of dollars in postsecondary learner success reforms. Membership organizations and networks have been crucial partners in the reform movement,” said Amy Kerwin, Ascendium’s vice president, education philanthropy.
“The danger in this crisis is that the most vulnerable students will be the hardest hit,” Kerwin continued. “If student success reforms stall out because of COVID-19, those students will be impacted even more.”
With Ascendium’s support, AASCU intends to strengthen member engagement and ensure that comprehensive state colleges and universities do not lose momentum in continuing to create equitable and inclusive learning environments.
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise of Opportunities for All.