Core to College

What is Core to College?

Core to College is a multi-state grant initiative designed to promote strong collaboration between higher education and the K-12 sectors in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments. In 10 grantee states – Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington – Core to College is helping states drive higher levels of alignment and collaboration to achieve greater college readiness with financial resources, technical assistance and evaluation support.

How will Core to College Make an Impact?

Core to College has a number of intended state-level outcomes. Each grantee state has identified its own specific activities that support the following:

  • Establishing a statewide definition of college readiness.
  • Creating the conditions that lead to the adoption by post-secondary institutions of the CCSS assessments as a determinant of a student’s readiness for credit-bearing course enrollment.
  • Promoting greater K-12/post-secondary sector alignment around the CCSS in areas including, but not limited to:
    • Academic courses and sequences
    • Data and accountability
    • Teacher development (including both pre-service and in-service)

What are Core to College States Doing?

Core to College grantees have developed a number of strategies and activities to meet their goals:

Convenings.All ten states are hosting trainings and convenings to foster connections between K-12 educators and leaders and post-secondary faculty and administrators. These are occurring at various levels – state, regional and local. 

Dedicated Staff.All grantee states have hired an Alignment Director to add critical cross-sector capacity and drive the collaborative work forward.

Communications. States are developing communications plans to create and disseminate information about the Common Core State Standards and assessments, and how these new tools will improve college readiness and college completion in their state.

Data Activities. The grantee states plan to gather, analyze and distribute information about student transitions and preparedness to ensure that collaboration and initiatives are supported by outcomes data; in some cases, states will be collecting and sharing post-secondary student outcomes with high schools in their state.

Core to College is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with funding from the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. WestEd will conduct an independent evaluation of the project. Education First is the project manager and oversees the Core to College Learning Network. For more information contact Anand Vaishnav at

core map

Goal: For a state’s higher education institutions and the K-12 sector to join hand in hand in supporting the implementation and use of the Common Core State Standards and assessments to help drive higher levels of college readiness among students, and ultimately college completion.

Issue Areas: Education

Geographic Focus: United States


  • Click here to read a report about the Core to College Learning Network's first year in action and its efforts to engage higher education faculty (September 2012)
  • Click here to read a step-by-step guide to higher education faculty engagement, using the lessons of the Core to College states (August 2012). The guide is a resource for any state interested in bringing higher education and K-12 sectors together in alignment issues
  • WestEd is the Core to College's external evaluator. Click here to reach WestEd's reports on the Core to College initiative
  • Click here to read a guide to creating and using college- and career-readiness definitions for state policy-making and alignment between K-12 and higher education institutions.