Press Releases

Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Awards Pell Institute $50,000 Grant

November 24, 2021

Funding Will Help Support Innovative Student Research Projects

This month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $50,000 to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Education. The Institute, which serves as the research arm of the Council for Opportunity in Education, conducts and disseminates research and policy analysis to help improve educational opportunities and outcomes for college students who have disabilities, are first-generation, or come from low-income families. Starting in January, the grant money will financially support undergraduate and graduate students working as Pell Institute interns and those who participate in the Pell Institute’s Students as Partners Research initiative.

“This award will help the Pell Institute continue supporting, training, and encouraging students in its vital research. We are grateful to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its support of this good work,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunity in Education.

The Students as Partners Research initiative allows students to assist in research and design their projects. The grant will help continue an initiative underway at Pell for more than a year. The student projects include researching ways that specific career paths can better attract and retain underrepresented groups, such as women or minorities. Another project is helping to devise better ways of evaluating academic and student affairs programs such as federal TRIO programs that help students in need enter and graduate from college.

“The Pell Institute is dedicated to producing and sharing research that values the lived experiences of first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities. We are excited to continue this line of work with students at the forefront,” said Terry Vaughan III, associate director of the Pell Institute.

Since 2018, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also helped fund the Pell Institute and its partner, the University of Pennsylvania, preparing and publishing the Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: Historical Trend Report Document is available for download (.pdf). The Indicators reports track historical higher education data from multiple sources to help understand how we can better reach the ideal of equity in higher opportunity.

Click here to learn more about the Pell Institute, including its mission, purpose, goals, and history.