The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation education goals and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants have resulted in the donation of billions of dollars throughout the years to shaping education and education policy. In 2020, AP News reported that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had donated about $44 million in just the prior two years to help influence and shape state education plans and provide Gates Foundation education grants.
Outside the borders of America, Bill Gates’ grants for students has also dedicated funds to help primary and secondary education. For example, in 2018, Bill Gates committed $68 million over four years to education in India and Africa.
Their billions of dollars in aid is aimed to support, improve, and restructure education to achieve equitable and successful outcomes. Let’s take a look at what they believe in, what they do to accomplish their goals, and how University of the People is involved.
What is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?
According to the nonprofit’s website, as of this writing, the Foundation has provided 2,136 grants, $5.8 billion in direct grantee support, and employs over 1,700 people to help make the foundation’s visions a reality.
The Foundation’s K-12 Education Goals
When it comes to K-12 education, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has shared the goal to “significantly increase the number of Black and Latino students and students experiencing poverty who graduate from high school, enroll in a postsecondary education institution, and are on track in their first year to obtain a credential with labor-market value.”
By working with grantees, teachers, and educational leaders, the Foundation is able to help provide access to quality education for all students, regardless of their social and economic status. Education is the starting point for social mobility and opportunity, so both Bill and Melinda focus on the beginning years of education to establish a strong core foundation for growth. They do so by setting up networks for school improvement, education preparation (teacher training), developing curricula, supporting innovative solutions, and more.
Recent Contributions to K-12
As of late, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been focused on awarding millions of dollars to math education for black students in K-12. As part of phase two of its U.S. Education Grand Challenge, Balance the Equation, 11 grantees are working to make Algebra I accessible to students of color.
With the aid of Melinda Gates’ awards and Bill Gates’ donations, many students are gaining access to education that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. On March 15, 2021, grantees received $100,000 to develop, test, and refine solutions that make Algebra I more accessible and collaborative for students of color and those living in poverty. During the second stage, 11 grantees received nearly $1 million each to initiate their programs within schools.
The Foundation’s Postsecondary Education Goals
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation doesn’t stop at primary education. They also focus on providing and improvising “student outcomes and ensure that race, ethnicity, and income are not predictors of postsecondary success” when it comes to postsecondary education and opportunity.
According to their website, statistics show that white adults are twice as likely as Latino adults to have the minimum of an associate’s degree. That’s just one statistic that showcases the disparity of education across social, economic, and racial divides.
In order to overcome the educational inequity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports colleges and universities while focusing on the use of data to drive decisions and funding allocations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dramatically impacted our very own University of the People (more on that soon).
When it comes to postsecondary education, the Foundation’s strategies are dedicated to:
- Student support
- Data and information
The impact of and access to postsecondary education works to shape social mobility and overall economic well-being of nations. Technology-enabled education can play a major role in helping institutions provide better support and resources for students to produce optimal outcomes.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Seeks to Redefine “College”
It’s clear to see that the non-profit is hyper-focused on equality in education and supporting equal access to education. As such, they have worked to redefine a definition of college that supports their goals.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Institute for Higher Education Policy worked to develop a report of the Commission on the Value of Postsecondary Education, which offered the definition of college that follows:
“Students experience postsecondary value when provided with equitable access and support to complete quality, affordable credentials that offer economic mobility and prepare them to advance racial and economic justice in our society.”
By basing their review of U.S. colleges on this definition, it was made clear that many institutions fail to address the needs and serve students of color and those who are poor.
At the University of the People, our mission is to “offer an accessible, quality education to any qualified student through flexible, affordable, online, accredited degree-granting programs that give graduates the potential to lead successful, fulfilling lives as individuals and members of society.”
In this way, we are aligned with what Bill and Melinda Gates believe is necessary to positively shape our society and world through access to quality education. By providing degree programs entirely online, we have removed geographic and physical boundaries from the equation, and offer higher education that is tuition-free.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Support of UoPeople
Our aligned visions and goals have transformed into action. With the help of a $500,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of the People worked towards earning our accreditation. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant made this endeavor a reality.
Accreditation improves our graduates’ employment prospects as the third-party validation certifies that the University of the People delivers the quality education we promise to our students.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promises and delivers billions of dollars in support of important causes around the world every year. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates education goals, the foundation has helped to shape policy, improve outcomes, and continues to strive for equal access to education for all.
At University of the People, we are grateful to be a part of the work that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation values and supports when it comes to education.