The Rise Prize application deadline has been extended to Sunday, May 17 at 11:59pm EST due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our institutions, organizations, businesses, and communities. We fully expect for applicants to prioritize the care of themselves and their families right now. We look forward to reviewing your innovative solutions soon!

About The Rise Prize

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply to the Rise Prize?

The Rise Prize is for US-based organizations of any age, size, or type that are currently working on direct impact initiatives for student parents as well as other students, for example:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • For-profit companies, including edtech solutions
  • Higher education institutions, including departments or teams within higher education institutions; academic institution associations; or alternative career pathways programs, including workforce programs, credentialing programs, and bootcamps
We have an idea but have yet to demonstrate any pilots or success, can we still apply?

Yes! We encourage those with early-stage ideas to apply for the Early Stage application pool.

We are a small organization but we have conducted customer validation, end-user testing, and market research. To which pool do we apply?

Organizations with ideas that have demonstrated product/market fit and strength of the market as well as measured impact on customers/end users should apply in the Mature Stage prize pool. In cases where applicants did not select the correct application pool, Prize evaluators will reassign applicants following consultation.

What conditions or reporting requirements are attached to winning the Rise Prize?

There are no conditions or reporting requirements attached to winning the Rise Prize, but we hope to stay in touch on the impact of your solution.

My organization is based outside of the US and serves student parents in other global regions. Can we apply?

No, the challenge is intended for US-based organizations serving student parents domestically.

Can I apply as an individual?

No. The Rise Prize is open to for-profit, non-profit organizations, and traditional and non-traditional postsecondary programs. Departments within postsecondary institutions are welcome to apply.

Is there a fee to submit our entry?

No. There is no fee to submit an entry.

We missed the submission deadline. Can we still apply?

No. Unfortunately, applications not completed and submitted by the application deadline will not be accepted. All entry materials need to be submitted by May 17, 2020 at 11:59pm EST.

Can the application be completed in a language other than English?

All answers must be written in English.

We have had investment or a grant from Imaginable Futures, The Omidyar Group and/or Lumina—can we still apply?


Will applications be made public?

You will have the option to make your application public or private based on whether you would like to use the platform to network with other applicants.

Are there any guidelines on how the award can be spent?

Yes, the prize money must be attributed to the specific solution or initiative that your organization has pitched. It may not go towards unrelated programs or initiatives in the organization.

Will finalists be able to choose their preferred advisor?

No. However, we will match finalists with the advisor best fitted with the domain knowledge to help refine the solution.

Who will determine the winners?

A team of subject-matter experts, who bring a range of perspectives to the table, will evaluate each entry. The judges include: Ascend Parent Advisors, experts in postsecondary education and economic mobility, and staff from Imaginable Futures, Lumina, and Entangled.

When will the winners be announced?

Winners will be notified during the week of May 25, 2020.

Will Imaginable Futures and Lumina take equity in my organization if we are awarded the prize?

No. The prize money is meant to accelerate the most innovative solutions for student parents.

Are there any specific dates that applicants need to be available for?

Yes. If you are selected as a finalist, you will be required to give a virtual pitch to our judges the weeks of May 15 and 22. Winners will be selected and notified the week of May 25, 2020. A subset of the winners will present at Jobs for the Future Horizons on June 9-10, 2020.

Will we have to pay for travel to attend the final presentation at the Jobs for the Future Horizons conference?

No, winners selected to attend Jobs for the Future Horizons will have their travel covered.

How will prizes be awarded?

6 winners from the Early Stage category will be awarded $50,000 each.

3 winners from the Mature Stage category will be awarded $200,000 each.

1 winner for the Risers’ Choice will be awarded $100,000. Risers’ Choice winner will be selected by the Ascend PSP Parent Advisor judges.

Why was our entry disqualified?

Disqualification can happen for several reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Failing to meet submission requirements
  • Failing to attend required events, such as the finalist video pitch session
  • Violating the official rules, terms, or conditions of the Rise Prize
  • Submitting content that is not original

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