Strong Start To Finish

Information on Grants, Sites and Plans to Grow

Beginning in 2017, Strong Start to Finish (SSTF) invested in higher education systems (i.e. Scaling Sites) across the U.S., including in Arkansas, California, Georgia, New York and Ohio. Then in spring of 2020 the momentum taking hold across the country led to an expansion of its footprint to include investments in targeted reforms by the original “Scaling Sites” and a new set of “Strategy Sites” in Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. A part of the investment includes advancing our knowledge through rigorous research and the development and dissemination of practical tools.

"Ultimately, these grants are an accelerant," says Christopher Mullin, director of SSTF. "Change in the field is already happening; the point is to 'fan the flame' to more quickly achieve system equity and a balance between student needs and operating realities in colleges nationwide."

2018 Pooled Investment

In 2017 Strong Start to Finish (SSTF) was launched by the Education Commission of the States with a $13 million investment. SSTF awarded three-year grants totaling $8.525 million to higher education systems committed to getting students onto successful pathways to college completion in February 2018. These grants offer direct support to address attainment gaps for historically underserved populations.

2020 Pooled Investment

SSTF was awarded $5.35 million to spur equity-centered research, practice, and policy invention and innovation, address emerging challenges at currently supported systems, and to provide targeted technical and strategic assistance to systems preparing to implement developmental education reforms at scale.

In June 2020 Strong Start to Finish announced the allocation of 23 investments to systems of higher education leading reforms and partners expanding our evidence base, ultimately bringing our footprint to 13 systems across 12 states impacting $4.8 million students.

If you have questions, please contact Brian A. Sponsler at at