Lumina Foundation Suffers “Initiative Fatigue”

The Lumina Foundation, which plays a key role in education nationally, is concerned about “initiative fatigue,” and will concentrate its efforts on getting more students to graduate from college. As someone who has spent the last sixteen years writing books for college students and working with professors to be more effective with freshmen, here is my advice:

1) Start students early on self-awareness. Many colleges wait until the first semester of freshmen year to help students with student success courses or remediation for math and English. These classes need to be taken the summer before freshmen year so that students can have the time to shore up their weaknesses, reflect on their goals, and hit the ground running by the time school starts in the fall.

2) Require that each college partner with feeder K-12 districts. There is not enough preparation academically, emotionally, and socially before students enter college. If colleges play a leadership role with their feeder K-12 districts, they can have a direct impact on what enters their gates instead of passively waiting to inherit woefully under-prepared students that tax the resources and people at the university level.

3) Require students to have at least two internships and make this clear freshmen year. Students without skills can’t get jobs in this economy or even in better economic times. Internships are arguably more important than any class they might take in college. Let’s
not keep this a secret.

4) Have grade level mentors for each student. Students need individual attention from older students who are role models for them. Colleges need to set up peer mentoring so that students can learn how to connect, ask questions and observe someone who has and is currently making good choices. They can aspire to being a leader and a role model themselves as they progress through college.

If the Lumina Foundation works intently with colleges to make these kinds of changes, the graduation rates will improve greatly. Visit or email to learn more about LifeBound’s goals, books and programs.


Lumina Foundation Will Shift Away From New Projects, State Leaders Are Told


Published: July 14, 2010

The Lumina Foundation for Education has become one of the best-known higher-education philanthropies in the country, spending nearly $50-million annually on projects to improve college completion, but now the foundation is worried about “initiative fatigue,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, the group’s president, in remarks here on Wednesday.

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3 Responses to “Lumina Foundation Suffers “Initiative Fatigue””

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