New Research Grants, Distinguished Fellowships, and Capacity-Building and Communications Grants Awarded

Nine researchers have been named as the newest recipients of William T. Grant Foundation awards.

The grants announced this cycle include the first research projects funded under the Foundation’s focus on understanding the programs, policies, and practices that can reduce inequality among young people in the U.S. Through this new focus area, launched in 2014, the Foundation seeks to build theory and empirical evidence that will inform responses to inequality across a range of domains, including education, mental health, immigration, justice, workforce development, and higher education.

The first three funded studies on reducing inequality will track school funding inequities across states; examine whether two Texas scholarship programs helped high-achieving, low-income students enroll in and graduate from college; and identify ways to monitor gaps in educational opportunities and outcomes across the country.

Two new research projects will also examine the use of research evidence in policy and practice, including the ways that research-practice partnerships promote the use of research evidence, and the conditions that shape the use of research evidence in policy decisions about mental health treatment for youth in foster care.

In addition, two research grants under our former focus on social settings will explore factors that affect school choice decisions by young people and their families. Two William T. Grant Distinguished Fellowships—which enable researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to work in settings that are outside of their traditional roles—and one capacity-building and communications grant have also been awarded.


Research Grants: Reducing Inequality

Indicators of Educational Inequality in U.S. States 1993–2012

Can better indicators of school financing reduce the poverty achievement gap?

Bruce Baker, Educational Theory, Policy and Administration, Rutgers University

7/1/2015-12/31/2016, $257,039


Does Attending An Elite University Help Low-Income Students? Evidence From Texas

Do scholarship programs that provide academic and social supports help high-achieving, low-income students enroll in and graduate from flagship colleges?

Michael Lovenheim, Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University; Rodney Andrews, Economics, University of Texas at Dallas; and Scott Imberman, Economics, Michigan State University

5/1/2015-5/31/2017, $277,993


Developing Indicators of Educational Equity

What indicators can help policymakers monitor educational equity?

Natalie Nielsen and Judith Koenig, National Academy of Sciences

4/1/2015-9/30/2017, $100,000


Research Grants: Use of Research Evidence

How Do Research–Practice Partnerships Build the “Absorptive Capacity” of Districts to Use Research Knowledge?

How do research–practice partnerships promote the use of research evidence in school districts?

Joshua Glazer and Marian Robinson, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University

4/1/2015-3/31/2018, $549,412


Integrating Theoretic and Empirical Findings of Research Evidence Use: A Healthcare Systems Engineering Approach

How do state policymakers use research evidence in decisions about mental health treatment for foster care youth?

Thomas Mackie, Laurel Leslie, and Christopher Sheldrick, Tufts Medical Center; James Benneyan, Northeastern University

5/1/2015-4/30-2018, $549,509


Research Grants: Social Settings

The Dynamics of Peer Influence and Student Decision Making In An Era of School Choice

How do young people’s peer networks and school settings affect the decisions they make about their educational futures

Megan Andrew and Jennifer Flashman, Sociology, Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, University of Notre Dame

3/1/2015-8/31/2016, $571,629


Leveling the Playing Field for High School Choice Through Decision Supports: A Randomized Intervention Study

How can programs help low-income students make informed high school choices?

Jennifer Jennings, Sociology, and Sean Corcoran, Humanities and Social Science, New York University; Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Education, Seton Hall University; and Sarah Cohodes, Economics, Harvard University

6/1/2015-5/31/2018, $447,671


Distinguished Fellows

Increasing Student Engagement: Integrating Research, Policy, and Practice

Jennifer Fredricks, Human Development, Connecticut College

3/1/2015–7/31/2016, $141,103


Child Care Assistance in Illinois: A Fellowship To Shape A Translational Research Agenda

Julia Henly, Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

7/1/2015–6/30/2016, $175,000


Capacity-building and Communications

Learning about Research Evidence Use in Education and Child Welfare Policymaking

This grant will support American Youth Policy Forum’s (AYPF) efforts to showcase the findings of the Foundation’s use of research evidence (URE) grantees, and our inequality initiative.

Loretta Goodwin, Senior Director, and Betsy Brand, Executive Director, American Youth Policy Forum

4/1/2015–3/31/2016, $199,979