MIT School Access and Quality Fellowship


The MIT School Access and Quality Fellowship is a one-year program for education leaders currently researching, implementing, or expanding enrollment reform. Through a variety of professional development offerings, fellows will connect with a national network of peers, reflect on their practices, and study cutting-edge research. Participants will also have access to leading policy and research experts from across the country who can provide guidance on enrollment best practices. The fellowship is ideal for education professionals who want to sustain, refine, and expand school choice in their regions.

What is the School Access and Quality Fellowship?

The curriculum draws upon best practices from research and features a cadre of expert enrollment practitioners and researchers. Past sessions have included experts from cities such as New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Washington, DC, and presenters from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, and other universities.

Throughout the year, fellows will develop a robust network of peers across the country and brainstorm solutions to real-world problems in their regions. All activities are designed with working professionals in mind and can be completed in addition to regular professional responsibilities.

This program is designed by MIT Blueprint Labs, with funding support from Arnold Ventures and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, with the goal of building and sustaining better, more equitable enrollment systems across the country.

Fellowship Details

What does the Fellowship entail?

  • One-year commitment, with frequent learning opportunities
  • Convening kickoff: Meet the cohort of fellows in Boston, MA
  • Webinars throughout the year focusing on specific enrollment issues, as determined by fellows’ interests
  • City learning visit: An optional visit to a city with established unified enrollment systems and practices
  • Free travel: Travel expenses reimbursed up to $1,200
  • Access to a network of policy & research experts
  • Networking events, lectures & panels, case consultancies, group discussions, and more!

What is required of fellows?

  • Attend the convening kickoff in Cambridge, MA or virtually on October 8, 2021
  • Participate in at least two webinars
  • Upon conclusion of the fellowship, submit a summary of accomplishments
  • Fellows continue to work full-time at their education organization and receive no additional compensation

FAQs and Fellow Resources

Who do I contact with questions?

Please reach out to contact@mitblueprintlabs.org with any questions.

How will the hybrid format work?

We are still working on details and they will depend on the number of people attending in-person, but we anticipate the fellowship being valuable regardless of whether you can attend in-person or virtually.

What is the approximate estimated time commitment?

Fellows will be expected to attend a full day kickoff, 2 hour-long webinars (out of 3), and submit a summary of accomplishments upon the conclusion of the program. In addition, we hope to foster a community for fellows to engage with one other outside of the required events. There is also a potential city visit, which would entail a one day trip.

Do I need to do anything to prepare?

No, though we have an optional reading list that we will share with the cohort at the kickoff.

What if my district hasn’t yet started unified enrollment?

Everyone is welcome to join, and we think that the diversity in current enrollment practices is an asset to this fellowship, as everyone can learn from one another about potential challenges and opportunities.

What topics will be covered?

In the first cohort of the program, we explored topics such as the impact of the Common App in Boston, UE case consultancies, biases and policy implications, philanthropic support, UE and single-best offer/deferred acceptance algorithm, UE approaches to governance and organization, and hosted a panel of different districts to discuss their experiences. In the second cohort, we see strong interest in the following: stakeholder engagement, fostering trust in community, navigating politics, equity issues, data & practical implementation issues, and strategy. We strive to make the learnings relevant and reflective of the needs of each cohort.

What travel funding will be available?

Yes. We are able to reimburse up to $1,200 for travel to the kickoff, with adherence to MIT's travel guidance. Participants who will travel need to contact Blueprint Labs before booking travel to initiate the travel reimbursement documentation and process. Links to travel reimbursement documents are also below, in the 2021 Fellow Resources section.

When will the webinars take place?

We will poll the cohort to determine the best options, but webinars will likely be in December, February, and April. The city visit will potentially take place in June/July.