The Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG)

Aligned with the goals in the Department’s Raise the Bar Initiative, the Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) application is now open to institutions to support underserved students. The PSSG grant aims to equitably improve postsecondary student outcomes, including retention, transfer, credit accumulation, and completion, by leveraging data and implementing, scaling, and rigorously evaluating evidence-based activities to support data-driven decisions and actions by institutional leaders committed to inclusive student success.

Many students of color and with low incomes still face barriers to successfully enrolling in and completing college, and as the number of non-traditional students in postsecondary education increases, additional and different supports are required to enable students to successfully complete their credentials. This grant program will provide $45 million to fund evidence-based strategies that result in improved student outcomes for underserved students. The competition will consider applications in two tiers—early phase and mid-phase/expansion—based upon the amount of existing research validating their effectiveness.

PSSG Grant Synopsis

Assistance Listing Number84.116M

Funding Opportunity NumberED-GRANTS-072623-001 (

Notice in the Federal Register: Application for New Awards; Postsecondary Student Success Grant Program (PSSG)

Deadline: September 25, 2023, at 11:59:59PM Eastern Time

Estimate Available Funds: $44,550,000

These estimated available funds are the total available for new awards for both types of grants under PSSG (Early-phase and Mid-phase/Expansion grants).

  • Early-phase—$22,275,000 for AP1.
  • Mid-phase/Expansion—$22,275,000 for AP2.
  • Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards:

  • Early-phase (AP1)—$2,000,000–$4,000,000 for 48 months.
  • Mid-phase/Expansion (AP2)—$6,000,000–$8,000,000 for 48 months.

Estimated Average Size of Awards:

  • Early-phase (AP1)—$3,000,000 for 48 months.
  • Mid-phase/Expansion (AP2)—$7,000,000 for 48 months.

Maximum Awards: We will not make awards exceeding the following amounts for a 48-month budget period.

  • Early-phase (AP1)—$4,000,000.
  • Mid-phase/Expansion (AP2)—$8,000,000.

Estimated Number of Awards:

  • Early-phase (AP1)—5–8.
  • Mid-phase/Expansion (AP2)—3–4.

Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

Project Period: Up to 48 months


Priorities: This notice contains two absolute priorities and one competitive preference priority. We are establishing the absolute priorities and competitive preference priority for the FY 2023 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1). Applicants have the option of addressing the competitive preference priority and may opt to do so regardless of the absolute priority they select.

Absolute Priorities: For FY 2023 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet one of these priorities.

These Priorities are:

Absolute Priority 1 (AP1)—Applications that Demonstrate a Rationale. “Early-phase”.

  • Under this priority, an applicant proposes a project that demonstrates a rationale to improve postsecondary success for underserved students, including retention and completion.

Absolute Priority 2 (AP2)—Applicants that Demonstrate Moderate Evidence, “Mid-phase” or Strong Evidence, “Expansion”.

Under this priority, an applicant proposes a project supported by evidence that meets the conditions in the definition of “Moderate Evidence” or “Strong Evidence,” to improve postsecondary success for underserved students, including retention and completion. Projects under this priority must be implemented at a multi-site sample or include at least 2,000 students.

  • (a) Applicants addressing this priority must:
    • (1) identify up to two studies to be reviewed against the WWC Handbooks (as defined in this notice) for the purposes of meeting the definition of moderate evidence or strong evidence;
    • (2) clearly identify the citations and relevant findings for each study in the Evidence form; and
    • (3) ensure that all cited studies are available to the Department from publicly available sources and provide links or other guidance indicating where each is available.
    • Note: The studies may have been conducted by the applicant or by a third party. The Department may not review a study that an applicant fails to clearly identify for review.
  • b) In addition to including up to two study citations, an applicant must provide in the Evidence form the following information:
    • (1) the positive student outcomes the applicant intends to replicate under its Mid-phase/Expansion grant and how these outcomes correspond to the positive student outcomes in the cited studies;
    • (2) the characteristics of the population or setting to be served under its Mid-phase/Expansion grant and how these characteristics correspond to the characteristics of the population or setting in the cited studies; and
    • (3) the practice(s) the applicant plans to implement under its Mid-phase/Expansion grant and how the practice(s) correspond with the practice(s) in the cited studies.
    • Note: If the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient information, the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide additional information. However, if the WWC team reviewing evidence determines that a study does not provide enough information on key aspects of the study design, such as sample attrition or equivalence of intervention and comparison groups, the WWC may submit a query to the study author(s) to gather information for use in determining a study rating. Authors would be asked to respond to queries within 10 business days. Should the author query remain incomplete within 14 days of the initial contact to the study author(s), the study may be deemed ineligible under the grant competition. After the grant competition closes, the WWC will, for purposes of its own curation of studies, continue to include responses to author queries and make updates to study reviews as necessary. However, no additional information will be considered after the competition closes and the initial timeline established for response to an author query passes.

Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2023, and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award up to an additional 6 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets the competitive preference priority.

This priority is:

  • Applicants that have made progress towards or can demonstrate they have a plan to improve student outcomes for underserved students by using data to continually assess and improve the effectiveness of funded activities and sustain data-driven continuous improvement processes at the institution after the grant period (up to 6 points).

Applicants addressing this priority must:

  • (a) Identify or describe how they will develop the performance and outcome measures they will use to monitor and evaluate implementation of the intervention(s), including baseline data, intermediate and annual targets, and disaggregation by student subgroups (up to 2 points); (b) Describe how they will assess and address gaps in current data systems, tools, and capacity and how they will monitor and respond to performance and outcome data to improve implementation of the intervention on an ongoing basis and as part of formative and summative evaluation of the intervention(s)(up to 2 points); and (c) Describe how institutional leadership will be involved with and supportive of project leadership and how the project relates to the institution’s broader student success priorities and improvement processes (up to 2 points).

Eligible Applicants:

  • Institutions designated as eligible to apply under Title III/V (which includes HBCUs, TCCUs, MSIs and SIP); nonprofits that are not an IHE or part of an IHE, in partnership with at least one eligible Title III/V IHE; a State, in partnership with at least one eligible Title III/V IHE; or a public system of higher education institutions.
    • Note: The notice announcing the FY 2023 process for designation of eligible institutions, and inviting applications for waiver of eligibility requirements, was published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2023 (88 FR 2611). Only institutions that the Department determines are eligible, or which are granted a waiver under the process described in the January 17, 2023, notice, and that meet the other eligibility requirements described in this notice, may apply for a grant under this program. To determine if your institution is eligible for this grant program please visit,​about/​offices/​list/​ope/​idues/​eligibility.html.
  • Institutions must include their FY 2023 Eligibility Letter in their application packet under other attachments. To retrieve the letter, please visit​main.
    • Note: If you are a nonprofit organization, under 34 CFR 75.51, you may demonstrate your nonprofit status by providing: (1) proof that the Internal Revenue Service currently recognizes the applicant as an organization to which contributions are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; (2) a statement from a State taxing body or the State attorney general certifying that the organization is a nonprofit organization operating within the State and that no part of its net earnings may lawfully benefit any private shareholder or individual; (3) a certified copy of the applicant’s certificate of incorporation or similar document if it clearly establishes the nonprofit status of the applicant; or (4) any item described above if that item applies to a State or national parent organization, together with a statement by the State or parent organization that the applicant is a local nonprofit affiliate.

Information Contact:

  • Nemeka Mason-Clercin, 202-987-1340
  • Nalini Lamba-Nieves, 202-453-7953