Introducing the Transformational Partnerships Fund

Many institutions of higher education recognize the need to transform their educational and business models in ways that can help drive student success. One way to do this may be forming a partnership with one or more other institutions.

The Transformational Partnerships Fund (TPF) supports colleges and universities interested in exploring partnerships that could fundamentally improve how they operate and serve students — especially students of color, students from low-income families, and other underserved populations. TPF was established by ECMC Foundation, and SeaChange, with additional founding support from Ascendium Education Group and The Kresge Foundation.

Institutions of higher education are in a period of profound change.

For many colleges and universities, today’s demographic, cultural, economic and public health challenges are daunting and unprecedented. Whether an institution is interested in exploring sharing administrative services, consolidating academic offerings, or even merging with another college or university, TPF provides confidential, philanthropic resources to help consider the full range of partnership options.

52%

Financial Stability
Only 52% of U.S. college and university business officers are confident their institution will be financially stable over the next five years.

25%

Return to Normal Operations
Only 25% of U.S. college and university business officers expect to be able to ride out the downturn and return to normal operations within in a year’s time.

20%

Probability of Merger
More than 20% of college and university business officers think their institution should merge with another college or university within the next five years

Source: Inside Higher Ed/Gallup 2020 Survey of College and University Business Officers

How the Transformational Partnerships Fund works

Working with TPF, college and university leaders have the opportunity to access technical assistance, grant funding, specialized resources and more. TPF builds on the experience of its funders, managers and advisors, all of whom have deep experience and real-world knowledge in higher education and the creation of successful partnerships.

All discussions are held in strict confidence, and grant funding may be provided to support the exploration of partnerships in many forms — from shared administrative services or consolidated academic offerings on one end of the spectrum, to full mergers on the other.

%
All Students At Risk

12% of all students currently enrolled in a college or university are attending an institution that is at risk.

%
Black Students
Students At Risk

19% of all Black students currently enrolled in a college or university are attending an institution that is at risk.

That’s 340,000 students across the United States.

Institutional failure has a disproportionate impact on students of color and underserved populations.

Source: The College Stress Test: Tracking Institutional Futures across a Crowded Market; Robert Zemsky

“Our institutions are increasingly intrigued by the potential of partnerships, but taking the first step is hard. It’s wonderful that philanthropic funders recognize the importance of helping them and have established the Transformational Partnerships Fund to do it.”

—Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D.
President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

“Exploring a merger or strategic partnership is difficult for leaders even when it has the potential to be transformational for the students and institutions involved. The Transformational Partnerships Fund is a welcome resource for colleges and universities interested in taking the first step.”

—David Chard
Dean ad interim of Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

News & Insights


IN THE NEWS

Podcast: Mergers and Other Transformational Partnerships

The Key with Inside Higher Ed

In this episode of The Key (an Inside HigherEd podcast), John MacIntosh and Art Dunning discuss the Transformational Partnerships Fund and examine the growing pressures on colleges to consider working with other institutions to bring significant changes in how they fulfill their missions – and the structural and cultural barriers that can make cross-institutional collaboration difficult.

Read more >

IN THE NEWS

With Universities Feeling Financial Pressure, an Initiative Looks to Spur Partnerships

Inside Philanthropy

Before the pandemic struck, the Kresge Foundation’s website mentioned an opportunity to help universities save money by partnering with other schools to consolidate and share “back office” services like payroll, finance and IT. Only one organization applied.

Read more >

INSIGHTS

Of Boards and Budgets: Lessons Learned from Oglethorpe University

I am the President of the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the regional accreditor for more than…

Read more >


IN THE NEWS

Becker College in Massachusetts to close following pandemic hit

The Business Journals

Becker College, a small liberal arts school in Central Massachusetts, is closing its doors after 237 years. The college of 1,518 full-time students announced March 29 its board unanimously voted to permanently end academic programming at the end of the current academic year.

Read more >

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