Excelsior College Secures $300,000 Kresge Foundation Grant to Improve Writing Skills of Low Income and Underrepresented Students

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The two-year, $300,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation will support the promotion and growth of Excelsior College’s publicly available Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Excelsior College
This grant will…help more low income and underserved populations improve their writing skills and grades.

Excelsior College, a private, nonprofit, online college in Albany, New York has secured a two-year, $300,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to support the promotion and growth of its publicly available Online Writing Lab (OWL).

“Pilot studies attest to our Online Writing Lab’s effectiveness in improving student writing skills,” said Francesco Crocco, PhD, Director of the OWL. “This grant will fund a systematic outreach plan and, ultimately, help more low income and underserved populations improve their writing skills and grades as they pursue a degree.”

The grant will enable Excelsior and community college experts to present on the OWL at national conferences, conduct industry webinars on the topic of writing, and assist institutions with integrating the OWL into their curriculum.

Since launching in 2012, the Excelsior College OWL has earned a dozen industry awards and been adopted on more than 70 college and university campuses. An independent study found users of the OWL increased their final grades by 6.5 points compared to a control group.

Much of the OWL’s success can be attributed to support from The Kresge Foundation Education Program, which promotes post-secondary access and success for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. The foundation awarded Excelsior a $639,000 grant in 2012 to fully integrate multimedia into the OWL to increase student engagement and increase academic success.

“This grant deploys additional resources to ensure the OWL can realize its full potential for reaching thousands of students across the country,” said Rebecca C. Villarreal, Program Officer, Education team, The Kresge Foundation. “While the current users tend to be college students, the OWL and its resources could also be tremendously beneficial to high school students as they prepare for college application processes, placement tests, and transitions to college. We’re proud to support this work.”


Excelsior College
Excelsior College (excelsior.edu) is a regionally accredited, nonprofit online college focused on helping adults complete their degrees and advance their careers. The College contributes to the development of a diverse, educated, and career-ready society by valuing lifelong learning with an emphasis on serving individuals historically underrepresented in higher education. Founded in 1971, Excelsior meets students where they are - academically and geographically - removing obstacles to the educational goals of adults pursuing continuing education and degree completion. Our pillars include innovation, flexibility, academic excellence, and integrity. Learn more at excelsior.edu.

Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a private, national foundation founded in 1924 that seeks to strengthen the building blocks of vibrant urban communities. Kresge’s Education grantmaking aims to increase postsecondary access and success for low-income, first generation, under-represented and under-prepared students by promoting pathways to and through college, and by building the capacity of postsecondary institutions whose primary mission is to serve low-income and under-represented students.

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