Lumina Foundation Education Innovation Prize

A call for innovative solutions that can help U.S. adults with little to no college experience earn degrees, certificates, and other high-quality credentials.

About the Challenge

Lumina Foundation Education Innovation Prize

Lumina Foundation is a private foundation based in Indianapolis committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina Foundation’s goal is to increase the proportion of working-age Americans (those typically between the ages of 25-64) with high-quality degrees, certificates, and other credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Accomplishing this will require business leaders, education providers, and policy leaders to embrace systemic change in our country’s postsecondary system. It’s a lofty goal, so reaching it will take collaborative efforts from diverse participants in the field: educators, entrepreneurs, innovators—anyone with a great idea.


The Lumina Foundation Education Innovation Prize, now in its third year, seeks to encourage innovative organizations whose ideas can be scaled to meet Lumina’s nationwide goals. Innovative ideas can have great viral potential and a great capacity to reach people where they are. Lumina hopes to attract great ideas and connect finalists into its numerous successful and long-lasting partnerships within the nonprofit and investment sectors.


This year the Challenge is focused on surfacing innovative ideas to support adults with no or little post-high school education in attaining a high quality, job-furthering degree or credential. Lumina is looking to solutions that are sustainable and scalable across the United States.

2018 Challenge Question

How might we develop a cost effective, rapidly scalable platform, service, or product that can help U.S. adults with little to no college experience earn degrees, certificates, and other high-quality credentials by the year 2025?

In addressing answers to this question, the solution needs to:

  • Target adults with some postsecondary education, but no credential, or adults with no post-high school education and no credential;
  • Focus on closing achievement gaps for African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians;
  • Strive to design a solution that is able to recognize learning wherever it is acquired and leads to further education and employment.
  • First credentials for adults – pathways to initial credentials – including workforce certificates and industry certifications – exist for adults who have not yet pursued education beyond high school.

The foundation is not considering:

  • Student loans or financing
  • Ideas that are capital intensive
  • K through 12 programs
  • Graduate programs
  • Corporate training programs
  • Non-U.S. based programs

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