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We believe in the promise of a better life no matter where you started – and the power of education and training beyond high school to transform the lives of learners from low-income backgrounds.

Learn More About Our Funding Strategy
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Our Focus Areas

We know learners from low-income backgrounds have the same abilities as high-income learners. Ascendium is working to change postsecondary and workforce training systems so that low-income learners have the same opportunities for academic and career success. To that end, we award exploration, validation and scaling grants in four focus areas that foster upward social mobility.


We hope our work contributes to a future where more learners from low-income backgrounds reach their education and career goals, equity gaps are eliminated and all postsecondary learning is valued and validated.

To assess the progress of our strategy on the changes we seek, we monitor data points related to first-year persistence, degree and credential completion, time to completion and job placement. 

News and Updates

February 18, 2021 Newsletter

Share Your Thoughts, Results from National Postsecondary Education in Prison Programs Survey and New Follow-up Reports for Rural Matters Podcasts

  • Share Your Thoughts With Us!
  • The Expanding Role of Colleges in Prison Education
  • New Tools to Understand and Better Serve Those with Some College, No Degree
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January 21, 2021 Newsletter

New Grants Awarded, Pell Grant Ban for Incarcerated Learners Lifted and Several New Key Resources Published

  • Ascendium Invests $16.2 Million in Degree Persistence, Health Pathways, Digital Career Growth
  • Groundbreaking New National Directory of Higher Education in Prison Programs Released
  • Additional Maintain Momentum Grants Benefit Organizations Serving Learners from Low-Income Backgrounds
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December 15, 2020 Newsletter

New Postsecondary Education in Prison Resources, Welcome Bethany Miller and Our 2020 Support of Our Community

  • Best Practices for Postsecondary Education in Prison Programs Released by Vera Institute of Justice
  • COVID-19 Crisis and Transfer: What Institutions, Systems and States Can Do Today
  • Bethany Miller Joins the Education Grantmaking Team
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