Communities Learning in Partnership

Communities Learning in Partnership (CLIP) is a new, multi-year initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for which the YEF Institute serves as managing intermediary. CLIP will support and accelerate efforts of city leaders, community college and other postsecondary institution leaders, and their partners to implement strategies to increase attainment of postsecondary degrees or credentials by low-income students in selected communities.

CLIP will also help communities understand, document, and build on their success; explore and understand how and to what extent communitywide partnerships are part of their success; inform each site's future efforts; and inform the Foundation's future investments in this field.

This initiative is part of the Foundation's postsecondary success strategy, which has the overall goal of doubling the number of low-income young adults who earn postsecondary degrees or credentials by the age of 26. More specifically, CLIP is part of the strategy's strand of work targeting greater national, state and local commitment to postsecondary success.

CLIP operates under the belief that community stakeholders working in a coordinated fashion can increase postsecondary completion rates more successfully than colleges, school districts, community leaders, employers, and other stakeholders implementing promising practices in isolation.

Planning Phase (October 2009-June 2010)
Through a competitive selection process, CLIP selected seven communities for $250,000 planning grants:

  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • New York City, New York
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Riverside, California
  • San Francisco, California

These seven communities developed three year implementation plans that address:

  • Building community commitment to achieving postsecondary success goals, especially among key stakeholders;
  • Continuously measuring progress towards a set postsecondary success goal and using information to drive change and publicly report progress; 
  • Developing sustainable structures are in place for community to plan, coordinate and execute strategies that increase postsecondary success; and
  • Relevant stakeholders adopting and implementing supportive and effective postsecondary success policies and practices.

CLIP drew these communities from a larger pool in the nine states (AZ, CA, FL, GA, NY, NC, OH, TX, and WA), which the Foundation identified as states of interest, where community colleges have a record of strong performance with the low-income young adult population and municipal leaders support a postsecondary success agenda.

During the planning phase, NLC developed a peer learning community to enable city, post-secondary and community leaders from these sites to exchange ideas and lessons learned, and provided technical assistance aimed at helping each site develop a comprehensive three-year work plan.

Implementation Phase (August 2010-July 2013)
A subset of planning grantees was selected to receive 3-year implementation grants. After a rigorous review process, four sites were selected to receive $3 million grants ($1 million a year):

  • Mesa, Arizona
  • New York City, New York
  • Riverside, California
  • San Francisco, California

Over the next three years, these grants will support efforts to coordinate and streamline the guidance and services young people need to get into, and through, college.

Graduate NYC! The College Readiness & Success Initiative
Align academic standards between the City University of New York and the city's K-12 public schools and coordination of academic advising and counseling in an effort to double associate degree completion rates by 2020.

San Francisco Bridge to Success
Align curriculum and teaching across systems and create support systems to help students navigate to and through college, while ensuring multiple pathways to graduation, in an effort to increase the college completion rates of high school freshmen from 30 percent to 50 percent by 2020.

Mesa Counts on College
Coordinate student success policies and practices across educational systems by implementing a shared accountability framework in an effort to increase the completion rates of low-income youth from 8 percent to 16 percent by 2020.

Riverside Completion Counts!
Implement early assessment and accelerated college prep strategies, employer-supported degree paths, and a coordinated network of academic, student, and social support services in an effort to boost associate degree completion rates at Riverside City College from 14 percent to 20 percent by 2013.

Elements of the Implementation Phase
The implementation phase includes:

  • Continuation of the peer learning community, supporting innovative approaches that bring together city officials, leaders of postsecondary institutions and their community partners.
  • Technical assistance to help each site complete its work plan and fulfill its objectives.

The CLIP peer learning network also includes a set of Affiliated Cities, communities with promising postsecondary success initiatives for low-income young adults. Affiliated Cities participate in peer learning convenings and include the three planning grantees not selected to receive implementation grants (Dayton, Jacksonville, and Phoenix) and a group of cities doing meaningful work that fall outside the states of interest identified by the Foundation (Boston, Louisville, Portland, Philadelphia).

In its intermediary role, building on its extensive experience as a technical assistance provider to city-led teams on a number of education initiatives, the YEF Institute will have two primary goals: 1) Assist communities to increase knowledge of effective strategies to expand postsecondary access and increase post secondary completion; and 2) Test the feasibility of building strong community-wide partnerships that support development and implementation of such strategies over time