New fund aims to help colleges pay for fusion explorations

A new fund will try to help colleges and universities seek collaborations, partnerships and mergers.

The Transformational Partnerships Fund was launched on Wednesday with a budget of $ 2.5 million, enough to help about 20 pairs of institutions over three years. To be eligible for support from the fund, at least one institution exploring a partnership must serve a student body made up of at least a quarter of people of color or at least 40% of whose students are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, which is largely considered a proxy for the low income situation. A potential partnership must also be able to produce “materially better academic outcomes” for students.

The fund is motivated by the idea that many institutions facing financial challenges – institutions that often serve large numbers of low-income and under-represented students – could stabilize their operations and serve students better through mergers. , sharing facilities, extracurricular offers or sharing administrative and airline operations. But such arrangements in higher education are complex, and many cash-strapped institutions lack the experience to master them.

The fund was created by the Los Angeles-based ECMC Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the student loan manager and guarantee agency Educational Credit Management Corp., and New York-based SeaChange Capital Partners, which was founded in 2007 with the aim of bringing experience from the finance, technology and real estate industries to the not-for-profit world. SeaChange will manage the new fund.

The Kresge Foundation and another student loan guarantor, Ascendium Education Group, are also supporting the fund.

“The Transformational Partnerships Fund supports institutions interested in exploring creative solutions that can fundamentally transform how they operate, for the benefit of students and schools,” SeaChange partner Nadya Shmavonian said in a statement. “When eligible academic institutions want help getting through these unique times, we can help identify third-party experts equipped to assess their needs and guide them to collaborative partnerships that provide long-term stability. “

Seed grants will be available to support reconciliation explorations, or catalytic grants of up to $ 100,000 will be made available so that colleges and universities can pay for technical assistance in areas such as law, law, etc. finance, governance, fundraising and human resources. The fund also provides access to relevant resources from its network of third parties and a group of advisors that includes administrative, governance and accreditation experience. It promises confidentiality.

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