$50 Million Awarded for Innovation in Higher Education


SACRAMENTO – Recognizing campuses of the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) and California Community Colleges that are expanding access to higher education by improving outcomes, the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education today announced the winners of a total of $50 million in awards.

“The innovations we are celebrating today are already helping to maintain and expand access to higher education for California’s students,” said Michael Cohen, chair of the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education and director of the Department of Finance. “Today’s action recognizes the hard work, innovation and creativity of our higher education campuses in improving the success of their students.”

The 2014-2015 budget includes $50 million to recognize campuses that change existing policies, practices or systems to achieve the following state priorities:

– Significantly increase the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded;
– Allow students to complete bachelor’s degrees within four years after beginning higher education; and
– Ease transfer through the state’s education system by better recognizing learning that occurs across the state’s education segments and elsewhere.

Award winners demonstrated a wide variety of strategies to achieve the state’s priorities. These strategies include alignment of K-12 curriculum with college courses; incentives for dual enrollment in high school and college courses; changes to policies and practices governing placement in college courses; stronger supports as students transition into higher education; redesign of college courses; use of technology to expand access to courses; improved student advising; development of structures to transition students beyond undergraduate education; implementation of systems to improve institutional planning and resource allocation; and the creation of formal partnerships across institutions and sectors to improve college completion. Nearly all of the applications described multiple strategies.

Awards were made to 14 of 58 applicants, a group including both individual campuses and teams of campuses. The committee identified three groups of applicants to receive awards: Applicants in the first group will receive awards of $5 million, those in the second will receive awards of $3 million and those in the third will receive awards of $2.5 million. Details on each group of successful applicants can be found here.

Distribution of awards is pending the committee’s final review of the proposed use of funds.

Applications for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education were submitted by January 9, 2015. The applications involved all 10 UC campuses, 21 CSU campuses and 70 different community colleges.

Additional information about the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education can be found here.