Higher Education
Recent Grants
Higher Education Program Guidelines

Eligibility and Parameters

The Higher Education Program makes grants only to US-based, tax-exempt organizations; it does not award grants to individuals.

The Program welcomes excellent, innovative proposals from all kinds of institutions and organizations and encourages inquiries from those that are less well-resourced and/or that seek to serve disadvantaged or marginalized communities.

The Program does not contribute to capital projects or endowments or provide general operating support, pay for faculty lines (though a grant may pay a portion of faculty salary attributable to a project), or fund undergraduate financial aid. Proposals of up to $500,000—for multi-year projects—will be considered, but most grants awarded are $250,000 or less.


Institutions interested in submitting a proposal should begin with a letter of inquiry. Full proposals should not be submitted unless invited.

Letters of inquiry may be submitted at any time by any eligible organization. However, the process of inquiry review and proposal development generally takes 3 or 4 months; and proposals are reviewed and approved by the Foundation’s Board only three times annually—in March, June, and November. Institutions should plan accordingly.

The letter of inquiry should not exceed 1000 words. It should include a brief description of the project and its hoped-for outcomes, the key personnel (full c.v.’s not required at LOI stage), and the rough project timeline. The letter should also explain how the project advances one or more of the goals of the Luce Foundation and identify the particular Higher Education Program strategy the project exemplifies.

Finally, the letter should state the amount of funding that the grantseeker intends to request, the total project budget, and other major sources of funding. A detailed budget is not required at the inquiry stage.

All letters of inquiry will be acknowledged within two days of receipt. Staff will respond to each inquiry within one month of receipt. Institutions invited to submit a full proposal will receive a detailed list of proposal requirements.

Letters of inquiry and general questions about the Higher Education Program may be addressed to Mr. Sean Buffington.

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