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Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD)

Program that Works


Project GRAD is founded on the belief that there is a relationship between a student's family life, discipline problems, mathematics achievement, reading achievement, and future goals. Subsequently, the program seeks to simultaneously address the numerous factors hindering a student's performance in kindergarten through college by focusing on interventions in these five areas. Using a feeder system, Project Grad hopes to drive systemic education reform.

Target Population

K-12 students in low-income communities.


To improve motivation and academic performance for children at risk; to increase high school graduation rates; and to prepare students for college.

Program Highlights

  • In the original Project GRAD schools, graduation rates have improved 94 percent and college attendance has increased 400 percent, with Project Grad students completing college at a rate of 70 percent above the national average.
  • Participants indicate a decrease in the achievement gap between low income, minority, and at-risk students compared with state and district averages.

The Facts

Implemented in 185 schools
Approximately 5-7 percent of annual per student spending in public schools (averaging $500 per student)


Higher Education


  • Including Continental Airlines, GE, Ogilvy and Mather, Comerica Incorporated, Wells Fargo, and Court TV

Non-Profit / Philanthropy

  • Including Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, Pitney Bowes Literacy Fund, and Verizon Foundation


  • U.S. Department of Education

Evidence of Impact

Research from one school district implementing Project Grad strategies saw improvement in student discipline, higher graduation rates, and increased college-going behavior of the targeted population.

Project GRAD – 1998-1999 Program Evaluation Report: An evaluation of Project Grad in the Houston Independent Schools District found that students participating in Project Grad programs had consistent, positive results on student discipline, graduation rates and college attendance.

One independent evaluation.
Project GRAD began as a college scholarship fund to help students in Houston’s lowest performing high school. In 1991, the project expanded to become a set of interventions from grades K-12.



Contact Information

Project GRAD USA
4265 San Felipe, Suite 900
Houston,  TX  77027
(713) 986-0499

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