Internal Competition Completed

Principal Investigators Selected
  • Kimberly Lawless, Education

Program Summary

Program Summary

The FITW program is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions and evidence for what works in addressing persistent and widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not persisting in and completing postsecondary programs, including, but not limited to, adult learners, working students, part-time students, students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, students with disabilities, and first-generation students. The focus of the FITW program is to build evidence for what works in postsecondary education by testing the effectiveness of these strategies in improving student persistence and completion outcomes. Development grants will support new or substantially more effective practices for addressing widely shared challenges.  Applications must be supported by Strong theory.

For FY 2015, the Department will award two types of grants under FITW: “Development” grants and “Validation” grants. 

Absolute Priorities: The sponsor will consider only applications that address one of the three absolute priorities.

  1. Absolute Priority 1: Improving Teaching and Learning
  2. Absolute Priority 2: Developing and Using Assessments of Learning.  Priority 2 must be addressed through one of the following subparts:
    1. (a) Alternative assessment tools or strategies such as micro- or competency-based assessments, assessments embedded in curriculum, or simulations, games, or other technology-based assessment approaches.
    2. (b) Aligning assessments across sectors and institutions, such as across kindergarten through grade 12 and postsecondary education systems or across two-year and four-year institutions, to improve college readiness and content delivery.
  3. Absolute Priority 3: Facilitating Pathways to Credentialing and Transfer. Priority 3 must be addressed through one of the following subparts:
    1. a) Seamless transfer of credits between postsecondary institutions; or
    2. (b) Validation and transfer of credit for learning or learning experiences from non-institutional sources.


Optional Competitive Preference Priority:  In addition, PIs may address the Optional Competitive Preference Priority: Implementing Low Cost-High Impact Strategies To Improve Student Outcomes


Selection Criteria: The Sponsor uses the following selection criteria:  A) Significance; B) Design Quality; C) Adequacy of Resources; D) Quality of Project Evaluation


Estimated Average Award:  $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 for 48 months.  A percentage of all the awards will be set aside for Minority Serving Institutions. 

Application Limits

Application Limits

UIC is allowed one submission, either as a Development or Validation application.  More information about Validation grants are in an accompanying announcement.


Please note the special instructions below in the Letter of Intent section.  All deadlines are NOON.


Additional Information


UIC Letter of Intent
May 20, 2015
UIC Internal Competition
May 28, 2015
Sponsor Letter of Intent
Sponsor Application
June 30, 2015

Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent

All Deadlines are NOON.


For the May 20 Deadline, merely send an email to with the subject line:  FIPSE - FIRST IN THE WORLD DEVELOPMENT GRANT.  In the body note the name and unit affiliations of the PI and CoPIs.  Also include a descriptive title of the proposed project.


For the May 28 deadline, submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) Form via the online portal.  In lieu of completing the Lay Summary section of the form, attach the following to the Form:

  • Up to 2 page project overview, inclusive of how the proposed project will address Absolute Priorities and Selection Criteria.
  • CV for PI



Please contact Tony Halford at or 6-7036 with any questions.


If an authorized principal investigator is not listed above, please consider the limited competition still open. Contact for further information.