2020 Award Cycle
Graduate NYC’s College Completion Innovation Fund aims to increase college graduation rates in New York City by harnessing the collective expertise and impact of a wide range of philanthropic and education organizations. It seeks to invest at least $800,000 toward innovative projects in the college persistence and completion sector for the 2020 Award Cycle.
Two-Step Application Process
To help build capacity and encourage greater innovation among education and nonprofit organizations, the CCIF will sponsor a two-step process during winter 2020.
In the initial stage, leaders and staff from up to 25 organizations will have the opportunity to participate in a Completion Innovation Series, led by Education Design Lab, experts in design thinking* approaches to problem solving. After participating in the two-day series, participating organizations will be invited to develop and submit a full proposal to implement their innovative practice.
After a review of full proposals, the CCIF intends to invest in at least four of these innovative programs. Organizations may request grants of up to $200,000 to support work over the course of one to two years.
*Design thinking and other methods introduced in this workshop help problem-solvers to think in new ways, turning their insights into sustainable solutions (i.e., new programs) for their constituents.
Eligible parties include New York City-based undergraduate colleges (public or nonprofit) and nonprofit community-based organizations, with a minimum of three years of experience implementing college access, retention, and/or success work for low-income students. Interested organizations should complete a brief application, which outlines the specific challenges to be addressed and the students who will be served. Additionally, applicants must identify two or three project leaders who can commit to participating in the two-day College Completion Innovation Series (ideally one of the participants should be a program director or other comparable position). Partnering organizations should have representatives from each organization present at the series.
A majority of those served by eligible projects must be low-income students, first-generation college students, students of color or others who are traditionally underrepresented among college degree holders. Organizations must have a demonstrated record of tracking and using data to inform programming, and demonstrated staff capacity to carry out the proposed project. Award recipients must have a 501(c)(3) designation.
- A two-page application for organizations seeking to participate in the College Completion Innovation Series is due Friday, December 20, 2019.
- Accepted applicants will be notified on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
- The College Completion Innovation Series will take place over the course of two days, on February 12 and March 11, 2020.
- Following participation in the Innovation Series, GNYC will invite organizations to submit a full proposal, due Wednesday, April 24, 2020
- GNYC will notify organizations if they have been awarded funding in late May 2020, and funded projects are expected to launch in September 2020.
The College Completion Innovation Series will support organizations in developing innovative project proposals to address issues of completion by significantly improving student outcomes in categories approved by the CCIF Advisory Board. The categories for the 2020 Award Cycle are as follows:
- Increasing Momentum:This may include improving efficiency and decreasing time to degree, supporting part-time students, near-completers or students who have stopped out.
- Improving Transfer Student Success:This may include improving transfer systems and/or strengthening partnerships across institutions and organizations.
- Reducing Nonacademic Barriers to Completion:This may include new strategies for addressing basic student needs and/or increasing access to mental health, legal, accessibility or other key services that enable college success and graduation.
When is the application due?
Applications for the 2020 Award Cycle are due at close of business on December 20, 2019.
When will I be notified as to whether my organization is invited to participate in the College Completion Innovation Series?
Organizations will be notified on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 as to whether they have been invited to participate in the College Completion Innovation Series.
What if I am interested in addressing summer melt through this award?
All funded projects must tackle issues of completion for current college students. Summer projects are eligible if they target student populations that have completed at least one semester of college.
Is there a requirement for a minimum number of students served through this award
Currently, there is no minimum requirement of students served through this award. The fund is interested in concepts that, if proven successful, could have the potential to impact a large subset of students.
Can my organization submit a joint application with another organization?
Yes, CCIF encourages organizations to submit applications together when possible. If selected, partnering organizations should have representatives from each organization present at the workshop series.
How do I know if my project is innovative?
If your proposed project is new or not a widely implemented strategy in New York City, it fits the criteria. Ideas borrowed from other geographic locations or sectors are welcome.
Is College Completion Innovation Series attendance mandatory if I attended during the 2020 Cycle?
College Completion Innovation Series attendance would be optional in this case, but please contact Sharlene Diamond at 718-254-7173 or Sharlene.Diamond@cuny.edu in order to discuss.
I still have questions, who should I contact?
For additional questions not covered in the FAQs page, please contact Sharlene Diamond at 718-254-7173 or Sharlene.Diamond@cuny.edu on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM—12:00 PM.