Launched in February to recognize innovative ideas that can help student-parents succeed in their postsecondary education, the program was expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Selected from more than three hundred applicants, the winners range from early-stage pilots to mature solutions submitted by for-profit and nonprofit organizations as well as institutions of higher education.
Winners in the mature solutions category include the Prison University Project, a college for currently incarcerated individuals, and Edquity, a technology-enabled emergency aid platform. Winners in the early-stage solutions category include the American Indian College Fund's "Ina wa wounspe pi" (Mothers who are learning), a coaching program for Native American students, and Arizona State University's Sunnybot Student-Parent Program, a text-based chatbot that answers school-related questions. Selected by student-parent judges, the $100,000 Risers' Choice prize was awarded to College Unbound, a bachelor's-level program designed for working and parenting adults, while the $50,000 Rising Star prize was awarded to Morehouse College in support of its Fathers to the Finish Line initiative.
"Accelerating the success of student-parents has a ripple effect that extends to the whole family, creating a path for families that leads to careers with family-sustaining wages and overall better life outcomes for parents and their children," said Vinice Davis, a venture partner at Imaginable Futures. "Unfortunately, this population often faces significant barriers to success. These winning solutions have the opportunity to scale to address these barriers and support the unique needs of student parents."
For a complete list of prize winners, see the Rise Prize website.
(Photo credit: American Indian College Fund)