Edtech Business

Gates Foundation puts $2.5 million to fund social apps to help kids aiming for college

Sep 27, 2012

HELPING KIDS MAKE IT INTO AND IN COLLEGE: Gates Foundation, in a session held today at Facebook, kickedoff a program called the "College Knowledge Challenge."The foundation plans to award a total of $2.5 million--or approximately 30grants between $50K to $100K apiece--to organized teams that have ideas forapplications aimed at helping students--especially low-income students--getinto college, succeed and graduate.

StaceyChildress, Deputy Director ofEducation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pointedout that college degrees are a significant ticket to stable employment and wagegrowth. US unemployment is stuck at 8.1%, she noted, but those with only a highschool degree are experiencing 8.8% unemployment. By contrast, the unemploymentrate of those with a college degree is about half--4.1%.

"Atthe Gates Foundation, we're increasingly focused on personalizedlearning--namely, meeting every single student where they are so they get whatthey need to be successful," Childress said. "Technology is not asolution but a part of a set of solutions to help teachers, parents andfamilies," she said.            

Thecall for proposal, which opened today, seeks applications from companies andorganizations (technically groups with an EIN number)--not just ad hoc teams ofindividuals. Childress said she hopes to see proposals that will address thefollowing needs:

  • Helping students build the social capital thatwill help them navigate the roadblocks to getting into and succeeding incollege;
  • Rectifying the asymmetry of information about admissions andfinancial aid available to low-income and first generation students;  
  • Helping students build "personal pathways" tosuccess in college (such as time management tools). 

In addition, all the proposals are expected to link to oruse Facebook in some way. (Facebook is encouraging teams to use its developer site for tools and support.)

The officialChallenge site also suggests a few other criteria, notably including thatthe idea and plan must be something that can be implemented within a reasonableamount of time.

Although those who propose apps will retain rights over theintellectual property, they have to agree to make the product available forfree or "at reasonable cost" to those who need it.

Proposals are due by November 16; winners will be announcedby January 23. The winners will get 40% of the funds at the outset and theremainder once they have built the application and it has been launched tocustomers.

Most fundamentally, the challenge is about spurringdevelopment teams to build applications that will make a difference: As thesite declares: "We are looking for apps that have the potential to changethe trajectory of young lives that are at risk of falling off the college-goingand college-completing path."

Edtech Business

Gates Foundation puts $2.5 million to fund social apps to help kids aiming for college

Sep 27, 2012

HELPING KIDS MAKE IT INTO AND IN COLLEGE: Gates Foundation, in a session held today at Facebook, kickedoff a program called the "College Knowledge Challenge."The foundation plans to award a total of $2.5 million--or approximately 30grants between $50K to $100K apiece--to organized teams that have ideas forapplications aimed at helping students--especially low-income students--getinto college, succeed and graduate.

StaceyChildress, Deputy Director ofEducation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pointedout that college degrees are a significant ticket to stable employment and wagegrowth. US unemployment is stuck at 8.1%, she noted, but those with only a highschool degree are experiencing 8.8% unemployment. By contrast, the unemploymentrate of those with a college degree is about half--4.1%.

"Atthe Gates Foundation, we're increasingly focused on personalizedlearning--namely, meeting every single student where they are so they get whatthey need to be successful," Childress said. "Technology is not asolution but a part of a set of solutions to help teachers, parents andfamilies," she said.            

Thecall for proposal, which opened today, seeks applications from companies andorganizations (technically groups with an EIN number)--not just ad hoc teams ofindividuals. Childress said she hopes to see proposals that will address thefollowing needs:

  • Helping students build the social capital thatwill help them navigate the roadblocks to getting into and succeeding incollege;
  • Rectifying the asymmetry of information about admissions andfinancial aid available to low-income and first generation students;  
  • Helping students build "personal pathways" tosuccess in college (such as time management tools). 

In addition, all the proposals are expected to link to oruse Facebook in some way. (Facebook is encouraging teams to use its developer site for tools and support.)

The officialChallenge site also suggests a few other criteria, notably including thatthe idea and plan must be something that can be implemented within a reasonableamount of time.

Although those who propose apps will retain rights over theintellectual property, they have to agree to make the product available forfree or "at reasonable cost" to those who need it.

Proposals are due by November 16; winners will be announcedby January 23. The winners will get 40% of the funds at the outset and theremainder once they have built the application and it has been launched tocustomers.

Most fundamentally, the challenge is about spurringdevelopment teams to build applications that will make a difference: As thesite declares: "We are looking for apps that have the potential to changethe trajectory of young lives that are at risk of falling off the college-goingand college-completing path."

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