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$165,000 Student Success Prize Competition at APLU Annual Meeting: Apply Now!

August 27, 2015

In an effort to advance innovative ways in which public universities are successfully using student advising systems to strengthen retention and graduation levels, APLU and Urban Serving Universities (USU) will hold a $165,000 pitch competition for its member institutions during the APLU Annual Meeting on November 17, 2015 in Indianapolis. 

APLU invites members to submit a proposal for this competition by September 16, 2015.  Click here to view the call for proposals.

The Innovation Pitch Challenge will be held before all attendees at the APLU Annual Meeting. Supported by (in alphabetical order) the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, and Lumina Foundation, the challenge session will feature representatives from six universities, selected from the applicants, pitching innovations in student advising systems to a panel of seven independent judges for up to $165,000 in prize money. The first prize is a minimum of $100,000. The judges will then have $60,000 to award at their discretion (to up to two others) and the audience will have $5,000 to distribute via an electronic poll.

The Innovation Pitch Challenge session is based on the television show Shark Tank. In the show, a set of billionaire “sharks” listen to pitches from entrepreneurs and inventors and decide which innovations to support.  Our seven judges from philanthropy, higher education and other fields will invest these funds in the innovations they believe hold the most promise for advancing student success and closing the achievement gap.

Pitchers will be selected through a competitive process.  Those selected are required to attend a one day pitch training workshop on Tuesday, October 20, 2016 in Washington, D.C. to help them perfect their pitch as part of the event.  Travel costs and expenses for the DC-based pitch training in October will be covered by the grant, but not for travel and related expense to the APLU Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

Proposals and presentations will be evaluated according to the following criteria (more details are provided in the proposal):

  • Seeks to advance the success of non-traditional, disadvantaged and/or underrepresented students at levels of scale
  • Has existing metrics of success and plans for continued measurement of success
  • Promises to mobilize change at an institutional level, ideally at a regional one (or at the level of the higher education sector) and generates excitement around the approach
  • Strong likelihood of achieving the stated goal within a specified time period
  • Adaptable to other institutional contexts
  • Collaborative both across campus and between campus and community
  • Significant (addresses a clear need) with the potential for broad impact/ability to scale
  • Leadership engagement

Interested?  Here’s what to do.

  • Submit your proposal according to the attached guidelines to Shari Garmise, sgarmise@aplu.org. Only one proposal per university.
  • A small team, including external experts, will review the pitches according to the criteria noted above and in the RFP and select six participants.
  • Deadline for proposal submission is September 16, 2015.

We look forward to a very exciting and educational experience at the APLU Annual Meeting!

  • Access & Diversity
  • College Costs, Tuition & Financial Aid
  • Degree Completion
  • Urban Initiatives
  • Commission on Access, Diversity, & Excellence
  • Coalition of Urban Serving Universities

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