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.


Validation grants provide funding to support the expansion and replication of projects supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness to a scaled multi-site sample, which would include multiple institutions of higher education, including multiple institutions within a State system.  All Validation grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the project at each partner entity. The evaluation design will be assessed on the extent to which it could meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards as defined in this notice.

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 four absolute priorities.

  1. Absolute Priority 1: Improving Success in Developmental Education
  2. Absolute Priority 2: Improving Teaching and Learning
  3. Absolute Priority 3: Improving Student Support Services
  4. Absolute Priority 4:  Influencing the Development of Non-Cognitive Factors

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

Estimated Award:  $6,000.000 to $10,000,000 for 48 months.  A percentage of the funds 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 Development 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 VALIDATION 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.