FSB economics professor receives Gates Foundation grant

Riley Acton head shot

A Farmer School economics professor has received a grant of nearly $79,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to continue her research on funding of rural school districts.

Working with economists at Michigan State University and the U.S. Census Bureau, assistant professor Riley Acton’s research looks at how state-level school finance policies that direct additional funds to rural school districts affect students' educational outcomes.

"I am thrilled that the Gates Foundation has chosen to fund our work on this important topic. Rural school districts face many challenges that their urban and suburban counterparts often do not, such as high staffing turnover, expensive transportation, and limited economies of scale,” Acton said. “Our research will hopefully provide some insight into how state funding policies can address these challenges, as well as how they affect students' longer-run educational outcomes."

"I am particularly excited that this grant will fund one of our master's students as a research assistant for the year, which will give them valuable first-hand experience in conducting economic research," she noted.

The Gates Foundation website states that “To bring about the kinds of changes that will help people live healthier and more productive lives, we seek to understand the world’s inequities.” The foundation has given more than $60 billion since 1995.