College Ready Grant

At-risk students who fall even moderately behind academic benchmarks early in high school are unlikely to catch up and become college ready before they graduate.

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Grant History


In 2014 we awarded nearly $3.4 million to fund 21 programs at colleges, universities and community-based organizations in Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin that served a total of 3,831 juniors and seniors.

Our goal was to make sure students arrived on campus ready to succeed in college-level courses, avoiding the quagmire of developmental education. The programs provided additional tutoring, academic support, instruction and skill-building activities designed to help get the students up to speed in math and English.

We were encouraged that our grant partners were able to "move the needle." English scores rose by an average of 5 points to 18, the ACT benchmark for college readiness. For math, average scores increased from 16 to 19, but still fell short of the benchmark of 22. We concluded that one year of services is simply not enough time to adequately prepare students. So our 2015-2017 College Ready grant doubles — to two years — the time students receive additional services.

Perhaps most importantly, though, we learned from our grant partners what it takes to run a successful college readiness program, and we share those results in our Closing Report and Best Practices.

Open Section Recipients

"The lack of academic preparation among college freshmen is a persistent problem we are determined to solve. By investing in established programs, we aim to learn whether and how an additional year of instruction and support can help even more at-risk students start strong in college. This is key to increasing their odds of earning degrees and having brighter futures."

- Richard D. George, President & Chief Executive Officer, Great Lakes

2014-2015 College Ready Grant Report

Read About Best Practices from our 2014-2015 Grant Partners

Our 21 partner colleges and community-based organizations provided valuable insights on running successful college readiness programs. This is a great resource for anyone looking to start a new program or improve an existing one.


Great Lakes partnered with 33 programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Both community-based organizations and colleges received $4.2 million in funding to help more than 4,800 students prepare for college-level course work.

Open Section Recipients

"The time, attention, tutoring, and skill-building activities that these programs provide give students expanded options for college, and increased opportunities for lifelong success."

- Richard D. George, President & Chief Executive Officer, Great Lakes


Our first College Ready grant provided $3.1 million in funding to 26 programs at colleges, universities and community-based organizations to serve students and adult learners in order to prepare them for success in college-level courses.

Open Section Recipients

October 19, 2017

Summer Melt Texting Initiative Lessons Learned

Find out what it takes to launch a successful program

Read the Report

Career Ready Internship Grant Closing Report

Learn best practices from our grant partners

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Dash Emergency Grant Closing Report

Learn best practices from colleges with successful programs!

Read the Report