Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education

To provide assistance for innovative programs that improve access to and the quality of postsecondary education.

Examples of Funded Projects

(1) Improved undergraduate liberal arts curriculum; (2) improved undergraduate teaching; (3) improved graduate education; (4) improved access for Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities; (5) cooperation between colleges and businesses; (6) teacher education; (7) uses of technology; and 8) improved study abroad programs.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Program Accomplishments

In FY 08, the Fund awarded approximately 68 comprehensive program grants.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The Fund provides project grants for activities sponsored by institutions and agencies that develop and demonstrate more effective approaches to the postsecondary teaching and learning.

Each year, the Department establishes funding competitions and priorities.

Funded projects are action-oriented, focusing on improvements in practice rather than support for basic research.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants include a full range of providers of postsecondary educational services including but not limited to: 2 and 4-year colleges and universities, community organizations, libraries, museums, consortia, student groups, and local government agencies.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Postsecondary educational institutions and their students will benefit.



Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Applications, consultation and assistance are available from the Fund staff.

Application materials and further information is also available on the WEB.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

In any fiscal year in which funds are available for new awards. The Department of Education publishes a notice in the Federal Register inviting applications and establishing a deadline date. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

Proposals are reviewed by field readers, by staff, by the Board of the Fund, by the Fund Director, and by appropriate Department officials. State Postsecondary Education Commissions must be given an opportunity to comment on projects funded in their States.


Deadlines are published in the Federal Register or may be obtained by contacting the program office.


Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Title VII Part B, Public Law 105-277, 20 U.S.C. 1135-1135a-3.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 4 to 8 months.




Applications for renewal of multi-year projects are processed and funded before those for new projects. Renewals are subject to the availability of funds.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The Fund suggests that some institutional funds be included as part of program support, but this is not required by current legislation or regulation.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The Fund will support multi-year projects; grants are awarded on a 1-to 4-year basis. Funds are released as required. Renewals are subject to the availability of appropriations.

Post Assistance Requirements


The Fund require periodic progress evaluation reports from grant recipients, as well as a final report upon termination of funding.

Reporting requirements are found in EDGAR.


Awardees must comply with standard Education Department audit requirements.


Grant recipients are required to maintain standard financial records.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $21,988,890; FY 08 est $120,333,397; and FY 09 est $37,433,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 08, the average FIPSE comprehensive program grant was $200,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program regulations are contained in 34 CFR 630. In addition, the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, and 85 also apply. The official Application Notice is published each year in the Federal Register. The Fund also published "Lessons Learned," a compilation of FIPSE projects. Contact the program office for more information.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education, Washington, DC 20202-5175. Contact: Cassandra Courtney; E-mail: Telephone: (202) 502-7506.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Grantees are selected based on the project's significance in improving postsecondary education; feasibility; and appropriateness.

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