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California Awards for Innovation in Higher Education, 2016-17Applications are being sought for California’s Awards for Innovation in Higher Education, a program that will recognize California colleges and their partners for developments related to student success and access.

California’s 2016-17 budget earmarked $25 million for the awards as a way to highlight the state’s interest in efforts to:

  • Redesign curriculum and instruction, such as the implementation of three-year bachelor’s degrees.

  • Allow students to make progress toward completion of degrees and credentials based on their demonstration of knowledge and competencies, including skills acquired through military training, prior learning and prior experiences.

  • Create programs that make college more affordable by making financial aid and other supports and services more accessible, including by increasing the number of students who apply for these programs, or by reducing the costs of books and supplies.

Most-Promising Innovations

Awards will go the most promising innovations, according to the State of California Department of Finance, which oversees the awards program. While a variety of innovations will be considered, preference will be given to those that:

  • Improve the outcomes for students from groups that are historically underrepresented in higher education, such as low-income students, first-generation college students, students from underrepresented minority groups, students who are current or former foster youth, students with disabilities, and students who are veterans.

  • Use technology in ways that are not common in higher education.

The awards committee consists of California’s director of finance, who serves as the committee’s chairperson; four members selected by the governor; an appointee of the state Senate Committee on Rules; and an appointee of the speaker of the state assembly.

How To Apply

The application for an award must be facilitated by a California community college. If the application is selected for an award, the committee will distribute funds to that college, with the expectation that any further allocations be managed locally.

Deadline to apply is Feb. 3, 2017, at 5 p.m. The application package is available as a PDF download on the California Department of Finance Innovation Awards page.

For planning purposes, interested applicants are asked to notify the awards committee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Oct. 31, 2016, but notice is not required to submit an application.


Crista Souza is the TechEDge News Editor