The College Completion Fund (CCIF) invites colleges and community-based organizations (CBOs) in the five boroughs of New York City to apply for awards beginning in January 2022. All awards made by the CCIF aim to catalyze marked increases in the college persistence and completion rates of New York City students. The Fund seeks potentially transformative solutions that are new to the region, and that bring the possibility of large-scale improvements for degree completion. Ideal pilot projects should be new or not widely implemented in New York City. Ideas borrowed from other areas of the country or other sectors of work are welcome. The CCIF will support organizations in developing innovative project proposals to address issues of completion by significantly improving student outcomes in categories approved by the CCIF Advisory Board. Funding priorities for the 2022 Award Cycle are as follows:

  1. Projects that invest in transformative change that spurs increases in persistence and completion for vulnerable students
  2. Potential student outcomes include persistence and completion measures, such as credit accumulation and graduation rates
  3. Projects can focus on a multitude of interventions that support students, including but not limited to:
    • Transfer pathways
    • Student re-engagement and re-enrollment for stopouts and near completers
    • Improvement of processes and requirements to streamline paths to degrees
    • Basic and immediate needs programs that reach students in innovative ways

The Process

To help build capacity and encourage greater innovation among education and nonprofit organizations, the CCIF will sponsor an application process during winter 2022 that will include a Design Thinking Workshop. Teams interested in applying for the CCIF are strongly encouraged to participate in a half-day, human-centered design workshop. Please note that applicants should identify two or three project leaders to participate in the workshop. Project leaders must be conducting their work at the program director level or in a similar capacity. Partnering organizations should have representatives from each organization present.

Brief letters of inquiry will be due on February 1, 2022. Among the initial short-form applications received, 25 organizations will be invited to develop and submit a full proposal to implement their respective innovative practices. These organizations are invited to participate in optional “pressure test” sessions. Facilitated by experts on obstacles to degree attainment, these sessions provide applicant organizations with the opportunity to present their ideas and receive immediate targeted feedback from members of both the GNYC Student Advisory Council and the CCIF Advisory Board , allowing applicants to further hone their projects prior to the submission of their full proposals.

After a review of full proposals, 15 organizations will be invited to participate in theory of change calls with the CCIF Advisory Board in April 2022. Selected organizations may request awards from $100,000 to $200,000, to support work over the course of one to two years. During the award period, the CCIF expects funded project personnel to participate in additional implementation support workshops and to leverage these opportunities to make improvements to their projects.

Eligibility

Eligible parties include New York City-based undergraduate colleges (public or nonprofit) and nonprofit community-based organizations, with at least three years of demonstrated experience implementing college retention and/or success work serving low-income students.

Teams interested in applying for the CCIF are encouraged to participate in a half-day, human-centered design workshop, which will provide guidance on developing effective letters of inquiry and full proposals.

Eligible projects must serve low-income students, first-generation college students, students of color, or populations that are traditionally underrepresented among college degree holders. Applicant campuses and organizations must have a demonstrated record of tracking and leveraging data to inform programming, and the demonstrated staff capacity to carry out a proposed project. Award recipients must have a 501(c)(3) designation.

Timeline

December

January

  • 1/3: Letter of inquiry (LOI) released

February

  • 2/1: Deadline for letter of inquiry submission
  • 2/11: Selected project teams invited to submit full proposal

March

  • Week of 3/1: Pressure test sessions
  • 3/28: Full proposals due

April

  • Week of 4/11: Theory of change calls with semifinalists
  • 4/20: CCIF Advisory Board receives final docket

May

  • Week of 5/16: CCIF Advisory Board convenes to determine which project submissions will receive funding

     

FAQ

The 2022 CCIF Award Cycle will be completely virtual. All workshops and events will be held remotely.

Letters of inquiry for the 202 Award Cycle are due February 1, 2022.

It is not mandatory that you participate in the design thinking workshop before submitting an application. However, the Design Thinking workshop was developed to help applicants strengthen their submissions, and we strongly encourage applicant teams to have 2-3 members attend the workshop.

Organizations will be notified on February 23, 2021 as to whether they have been invited to submit full proposals.

All funded projects must tackle issues of completion for current college students. Summer projects are eligible if they target student populations that have completed at least one semester of college.

Currently, there is no required minimum number of students that must be served through this award. However, the fund is interested in pilots that have the potential to impact a large subset of students.

Yes, the CCIF encourages organizations to submit applications together when possible. If selected, partnering organizations should have representatives from each organization as part of their core design team.

If your proposed project is new or not a widely implemented strategy in New York City, it fits the criteria. Ideas borrowed from other sectors or geographic locations are welcome.

Please refer to the “Application Resources” section below.

For additional questions not covered in the FAQ page, please contact Sharlene Diamond at Sharlene.Diamond@cuny.edu.