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Bill Gates' grant to aid MO universities

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have jointly awarded Missouri a $250,000 grant to redesign technology courses at Missouri's public four-year universities, including Missouri State University.

Missouri's public higher education institutions filed a joint application for the grant, and the application was one of 29 selected from a pool of 600, according to a news release from Gov. Jay Nixon's office.

"Working in close collaboration to redesign courses and make the best use of innovative technology, our public four-year schools can serve tens of thousands of students more efficiently and effectively, reduce costs, and meet  higher academic goals, including college completion," Nixon said in the release.

The course redesign costs will be supplemented with $240,000 from Missouri's public universities, $100,000 from the state and $15,000 from the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

The $250,000 grant is a part of Next Generation Learning Challenges, a collaborative multiyear initiative designed to improve U.S. college readiness and completion using technology.

University of Missouri officials will serve as grant support administrators for the group's work during the next 15 months, the release said.

"This funding will provide all of us with an opportunity to pursue an unprecedented level of collaboration on a broad academic agenda, with a laser focus on providing a quality education experience for students,” said Christa Weisbrook, University of Missouri faculty fellow who is coordinating the initiative among Missouri’s higher education institutions.

In addition to providing university students with redesigned courses, the public four-year universities eventually will share the redesigned course materials with the 21 public two-year colleges in the state.
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