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Educational Grants by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Updated on March 19, 2015
Bill and Melinda Gates created their foundation to help others achieve success through education.
Bill and Melinda Gates created their foundation to help others achieve success through education. | Source

Thanks to federally funded programs and the generosity of private donors, higher education has become a reality for many students who would otherwise not have opportunity. Over the years, private foundations have contributed significantly to helping people attend schools of higher learning. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the most prominent such organizations.

Foundation Goals

The Foundation is committed to focusing on both health and education. The organization, headed by Mr. and Mrs. Gates along with Warren Buffett, has given away more than $24 billion in grant scholarships since 1994. The educational programs the Foundation offers start with early childhood development. Concern regarding limited opportunities for underprivileged children prompted the development of the Washington Early Learning Fund. This fund is designed to provide a positive educational experience for children under age five. The Gates Foundation realizes that a solid education early in life is critical for success throughout the school years.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters are located in Seattle, Washington.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters are located in Seattle, Washington. | Source

High School Grants

The Gates foundation also provides educational opportunities via a variety of pre-college grants programs. For example, it provides assistance to high school students through its “College-Ready Education” grants, which are designed to aid students who require additional training in reading, writing and math. The program is implemented through “content area classes” rather than standard remedial processes. The Foundation believes this gives a psychological advantage to students who may be struggling with esteem-related performance issues.

The primary goal of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's high school grants is to help prepare students for college.
The primary goal of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's high school grants is to help prepare students for college. | Source

Collegiate Grants

Postsecondary grants from the Gates Foundation are not only designed to provide financial assistance, but also to help students stay on track to complete their education. The Foundation noted that approximately one half of all students entering college programs do not complete their education. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program was created to address this problem by helping gifted, but lower-income students complete college. Additionally, postsecondary programs coordinate with college groups and associations throughout the country to provide low cost education and accelerated internet education programs to help students who are struggling.

College grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation help give students the means to pursue higher education who might not otherwise have been able to afford it.
College grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation help give students the means to pursue higher education who might not otherwise have been able to afford it. | Source

Other Grants

The Gates Foundation also provides funding to numerous other programs that support college students. These are just a few examples.

  • The Foundation has donated more than $122 million dollars to the DC Achievers Scholarships. This program provides opportunities for many low income students living in the Washington, D.C. area.
  • The NewSchools Venture Fund, which is supported by the Gates Foundation, is designed to assist low-income students as well.
  • Every year, approximately 100 students receive the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. This scholarship provides opportunities for graduate students outside the UK to attend the University of Cambridge; the Foundation donated approximately $30 million to this effort.
  • In 2007, the Gates Foundation created Strong American Schools, which encouraged presidential candidates to make special allotments for education.
  • The University Scholars Program was designed to provide increased opportunities at Duke University. It encourages student interaction through mentoring, and it provides scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and doctorate-level students.
  • The Foundation also supports the Washington State Achievers Scholarship, which challenges academic institutions to develop an environment of educational success, while also providing scholarships for students.
  • The Foundation provides money for students attending the University of Washington School of Law. This program provides five scholarships every year to deserving students. Students who receive scholarships must agree to work in lower income positions for five years after completing law school.

The Gates Foundation has provided financial support to the Computer History Museum and Discovery Institute. The Foundation also pledged $25 million to Cornell University for the new Information Science Building, which began construction in early 2012. The Carnegie Melon School of Computer Science received $20 million from the Foundation for their new computer science building as well.

Is applying for an educational grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation worth the time and effort?

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Other Considerations

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has touched and will continue to touch the lives of students from around the world. The organization’s commitment to education has provided opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds. To be sure, there have been critics who do not agree with the methodology of the Foundation and believe it undermines certain aspects of public education. Regardless, the Foundation continues to push forward with efforts to provide equal opportunities for those who otherwise would have little chance to succeed. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation demonstrates as practically as possible its core values of optimism, collaboration and innovation in an attempt to make a lasting difference in the world.

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