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C21U acts as a conduit for collaboration and partnership with external organizations including non-profit and government entities, as well as corporate branches interested in investing in the success of higher education innovation. Below are a few of our current and past external collaborations.

Office of Ed Tech partnership graphic

U.S. Department of Education and Office of Educational Technology

In the 2014 Budget Proposal for Education, the U.S. Department of Education underscored the need for innovation at a national level to close achievement gaps, provide life-transforming opportunities to children, expand educational opportunities, and prepare all Americans for the challenges of the 21st century.

In response to the identified gaps, C21U’s previous Access and Completion Initiative focused on identifying and exploring innovative ways to encourage increased opportunities for interactions and engagement among faculty, students, the university, and surrounding communities as ways of improving college access and completion.

Currently, C21U has partnered with the Office of Educational Technology as a sponsor of the 2018 Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge #edu2030. The challenge seeks the best ideas worldwide for how to align our postsecondary educational ecosystem to the future of work and life.

Lumina Foundation

According to the Lumina Foundation 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, the percentage of Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 with a two- or four-year degree is 38.7 percent. Yet 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020. To close that  gap, we must explore new ways to expand access and success in post-secondary education beyond high school, particularly among low-income and first-generation students, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, veterans and adults who have some college but lack a credential. Objectives include increasing awareness of faculty and administrators, community leaders, business leaders, and other citizens on the various tactics available to increase attainment and developing approaches to create the fundamental change needed within the U.S. higher education system—particularly finance and credentialing models to increase required attainment levels. Expanding the possibilities and types of learning, creating new systems of quality credentials and credits defined by learning and competencies rather than time, and alignment with workforce needs and trends are important objectives.

In October 2013, Lumina Foundation announced that C21U Executive Director Rich DeMillo was named one of the first four Lumina Fellows.

University System of Georgia (USG)

C21U works hand-in-hand with USG partners to propel the entire university system forward as a leader in state-wide higher education innovation.

More broadly, the University System of Georgia notes in its Policy Review Task Force Recommendations Report: “The concept of new models also includes breaking down institutional walls—that knowledge in general may be acquired from institutions or non-institutional entities outside the USG. These may be formal or informal arrangements for both faculty and students to benefit from the growing availability of educational resources, assessments, and whole courses (e.g. MOOCs).”

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also focuses on issues of access and completion via its College-Ready Education and Postsecondary Success programs. The innovative programs are targeted at supporting efforts to insure secondary students are prepared for college success, and once there, that students complete college with an education "tailored to their needs, academic abilities, and career or employment goals."

Campus Community Partnership Foundation

As part of its ongoing partnership with the Campus Community Partnership Foundation, C21U promotes Mentor Walk, held on the Georgia Tech campus and in the community. Mentor Walk raises awareness of the importance of education and encourages students to stay in school.

Mentor Walk is designed to positively impact the drop-out rate by exposing children to opportunities for their future with education. It introduces students in school to college life, with discussions about college preparation, successful job interviews, financial literacy, vocational modules, and literacy for children. To participate in Mentor Walks, visit for more information.

The Campus Community Partnership Foundation "recognizes excellence in campus community partnerships and service learning. It encourages college students to develop social responsibility by applying their classroom learning to address community problems with innovative and sustainable solutions, in partnership with the community."