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Improving Education and Reducing Inequality in the United States

Grants to USA Doctoral Students, Ph.D. Fellows,
and Faculty for Research About Gaps in Education

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Russell Sage Foundation - William T. Grant Foundation

Deadline Date:

02/04/20 2:00 PM ET


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Grants of up to $20,000 to USA doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to conduct research projects that promote greater awareness about, and understanding of, student success throughout the country by using a combination of data sources. Applicants must have received their Ph.D. in the past seven years.

Studies that can plausibly identify the effects of policies, practices, and conditions on achievement inequality or the effects of achievement gaps on other outcomes and forms of inequality will be preferred over descriptive or correlational studies. The Foundation is particularly, though not exclusively, interested in studies aimed at understanding how to reduce educational inequality or subsequent forms of inequality.

Studies may make use of variation across places (schools, school districts, counties, metropolitan areas, states), grades (grades 3-8), years (2009-2016), birth cohorts (there are 13 birth cohorts in the data – born roughly 1995-2007), and student subgroups to identify mechanisms that affect inequality.

Examples of the types of research topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The effects of federal, state, or district education policies on educational achievement and the reduction of educational inequality (standards, teacher recruitment, retention, and evaluation policies, student assignment and discipline policies, etc.); 
  2. The effects of residential or school integration on educational achievement and the reduction of educational inequality;
  3. The role of school finance and funding in shaping achievement patterns (among states or districts, as well as within-districts);
  4. The role of social policies and outside-of-school conditions in reducing inequality (public pre-school, family support policies, after school programming, neighborhood safety and conditions);
  5. The role of school choice, charter schools, and other market-based mechanisms in educational outcomes.
  6. The effects of achievement patterns and gaps on disparities in college enrollment and completion.
  7. The effects of educational achievement and inequality on other social outcomes or aspects of social inequality (e.g.: criminal activity and incarceration, young adult earnings, social mobility).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173163

Number of Grants:

Five to seven proposals are expected to be funded in each round.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Accepted proposals will receive up to $20,000 in funding for a faculty project and up to $10,000 for a graduate student project. If a graduate student project has multiple students, the Foundation will consider funding up to $15,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants can be doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows or assistant professors who received their Ph.D. on or after August 31, 2012.

Applications may be submitted by teams of researchers.

The Foundations are particularly interested in promoting racial/ethnic, gender and disciplinary diversity and strongly encourage applications from scholars who are underrepresented in the social sciences.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications will be accepted through February 4, 2020 at 2:00 PM Eastern time. Decisions will be announced in early April 2020.

Allow up to 2 business days for a new account on the online application portal to be approved.

Doctoral students must also submit one letter of recommendation from the student's faculty advisor.

Applicants are encouraged to explore in detail the available data at and to be very specific in the proposed analysis, describing which data from the project they plan to analyze and any additional sources of data that will be required to carry out the project.

For detailed information about what can and cannot be included in the budgets, as well as the budget template, please read the RSF Budget Guidelines at:

Researchers who receive grants are expected to present their results at a one-day academic conference in Spring 2021. The aims of the conference will be to improve the quality of the research and foster collaboration among early career researchers interested in educational inequality. Grantees will be free to publish their work in their preferred outlet. RSF will cover the costs of the conference and reimburse participants for reasonable travel expenses.

An additional round of funding will be announced in Fall 2020.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Stephen Glauser, Program Officer

Russell Sage Foundation
112 East 64th Street
New York, NY 10065

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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