Lynn Seuffert
Associate for Research Investment

Fund for Excellence and Innovation

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Fast Facts

The Fund for Excellence and Innovation was established during the 2016 General Assembly session to focus on two primary activities: (1) to stimulate collaborations among public school divisions, community colleges and universities and to expand affordable student pathways and (2) to pursue shared services and other efficiency initiatives at colleges and universities that lead to measurable cost reductions. In 2021, SCHEV published Pathways to Opportunity: The Virginia Plan for Higher Education. The Plan describes a vision for Virginia to be the “Best State for Education.” In order to realize that vision, the Commonwealth must raise its educational attainment to 70% for 25- to 64-year-olds by 2030. In the Plan, the SCHEV Council established three goals for higher education: equitable, affordable, and transformative.

In Spring 2022, the first FFEI competition under the new Virginia Plan focused on one part of the Equitable goal: to remove barriers to attainment, especially for Black, Hispanic, Native American and rural students; students learning English as a second language; students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds; and students with disabilities. The competition was inspired by the University Innovation Alliance, a national consortium committed to increasing the number and diversity of college graduates. That grant competition yielded three awards:

The second competition under the 2021 Virginia Plan will share the same focus. Teams awarded a "Collaborative Equitable Attainment Grant" are expected to take a deep dive into the student data for at least two Virginia institutions of higher education (at least one of which must be public); identify gaps in attainment for some or all of the populations targeted by The Virginia Plan; use the resulting analysis and a methodology of their choice to find out what is and what is not serving students; conduct literature searches; design and conduct a pilot intervention to address a chosen gap in attainment; and assess the impact of the pilot intervention and share the results.
Please see full instructions in the Call for Proposals for details.

Frequently Asked Questions [pdf]

Proposals Due: Monday, December 5, 2022
Estimated Notification of Award: Mid-January 2023
Estimated Start Date: February 1, 2023
Length of Award: up to 30 months
Award Amount: up to $100,000


An informational webinar was held on Thurs., October 20, 2022.

Presentation slides


Lynn Seuffert, Senior Associate for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies,

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia,

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