$10 Million Beyond Completion Challenge

Strada Education Network — Goal 1 Initiative $10 Million Beyond Completion Challenge

Strada Education Network believes all students deserve a quality education that helps them secure a good job, do work that is meaningful to them, contribute to their families and communities, and lead fulfilling lives.

The $10 million Beyond Completion Challenge partners with higher education institutions and provides vital funding to launch, test, and scale initiatives designed to ensure that students — especially people of color, first-generation students, and those who struggle to pay for their education — are positioned to succeed long after graduation.

We want to recognize and extend the great work these institutions are already doing to re-envision postsecondary education. We hope the Beyond Completion Challenge will help close equity gaps for more graduates, especially for those who have faced the most barriers,” said Strada’s Ruth Watkins. “We must shift our focus beyond completion of credentials and degrees. We need to design and deliver an educational experience that connects learning with employment so that every student can secure a good job, do meaningful work, and lead a fulfilling life.

Dr. Ruth Watkins, Strada Education Network

Initiative Differentiators

The Challenge builds upon activities of the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity — a collaboration among higher education leaders representing close to 100 institutions and 2.4 million students — to reimagine the future of higher education to address the disproportionate impact on students of color as well as first-generation students and those who struggle to pay for their education as a result of persistent education and workplace inequities, now exacerbated by the pandemic. The Challenge will provide select Taskforce schools with financial support to implement their initiatives focused on equitable outcomes beyond completion.

Key Interventions and Milestones

Phase 1: The Challenge will provide 15 institutions with a $250,000 innovation grant ($3 million total) by the end of 2021.

Phase 2: An additional $7 million in scaling grants will be awarded in 2022 to select institutions in the Taskforce to expand their work.

Expected Impact

The types of proposals the Beyond Completion Challenge is seeking aim to help learners make the most of their education and improve their economic mobility by looking beyond educational access and completion to focus on the connections between education and careers. The Challenge seeks to achieve this by fostering partnerships between institutions and organizations to better connect what students are learning to what they will need to thrive in their careers and lives.