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.


  • Who can enter?

    This challenge is open only to legally-registered US organizations. Individuals must enter the Challenge as the authorized representative of an otherwise eligible business or nonprofit organization.

  • Can I enter as a part of a team?

    Yes. A team may have up to 10 members. Entries submitted by teams must designate one individual member as the "Team Leader" for contact and administrative purposes. The Team Leader will be responsible for submitting the Entry on behalf of the legally-registered US organization.

  • Is there a fee to submit an entry?

    No. There is no fee to submit an entry.

  • When do I need to submit my entry?

    You or your team leader need to complete and submit all the entry materials before the deadline on March 10, 2019, 11:59 pm PST.

  • What do I need to do in order to enter?

    You need to register on our online platform, complete an online entry form, and upload optional additional materials.

  • How do I register?

    Basic Registration Instructions

    • Click on the "Register" link at
    • Complete the information on the registration page and click "Submit."
    • You will receive an email from the system which contains a link to click and validate your email address. This link expires in 7 days for security reasons. If the link expires before you validate your email, you must register again.
    • Once you click the link, you will be directed to the Log In page and can then log into the system and begin your application. If you have questions about this registration process, please contact

    Optional Team Registration Instructions

    • If you are submitting the entry as a team, the first person should register as the "Team Leader" and follow the “basic registration” instructions indicated above. Once the Team Leader has registered, that person can invite other people to their team (maximum 10 participants per team) by following the instructions posted within the entry portal.
    • Note that the role of "Team Leader" can be transferred by the current Team Leader to another active Team Member, if needed.
  • Are there any specific dates on which entrants must make themselves available?

    Yes. If you are chosen as a semifinalist, you or someone from your organization must be available to conduct a video interview with Lumina staff on Friday, March 29, 2019. If you or someone from your organization is not available on this date to interview your entry will be disqualified.

    Further, if chosen as a finalist, you or someone from your organization must be available to present in person at the LIFTed Convening on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 in San Francisco. If you or someone from your organization is not available on this date to present, your entry will be disqualified. Lumina will pay for the cost of travel for one individual from the chosen finalist organization, including related economy airfare and hotel accommodations as well as reimbursement of reasonable per diem expenses according to the event policy. Event policy will be shared with finalists upon selection.

  • May I revise my submission?

    Yes, you may revise your submission content (online form and uploaded files) at any time until the deadline of March 10, 2019, 11:59pm PST.

    Applicants chosen to participate in the semifinals may provide a supplementary presentation as a part of their video interview on March 29, 2019.

    The three selected finalists will go through a preparatory phase prior to their presentation to live judges and the audience at the LIFTed Convening in San Francisco on April 16, 2019.

  • Who will determine the winners?

    A team of industry and subject-matter experts will evaluate each entry and select 20 entries to be reviewed by Lumina staff. Lumina staff will select 6 entries to interview on Friday, March 29th through video conference. From those interviews, 3 finalists will be selected to present to a live panel of judges and an audience of educators, funders, innovators, and industry professionals at the LIFTed Convening on Tuesday, April 16th in San Francisco. The live panel of judges will select the winner of the Judges Choice Prize and the audience of educators, funders, innovators, and industry professionals, via vote, will select the Audience Choice Prize.

  • What are the prizes?

    The 2019 Lumina Foundation Education Innovation Prize is offering a total $50,000 USD in cash prizes that will be awarded as follows:

    • One (1) Judges Choice Prize of $25,000 USD
    • One (1) Audience Choice Prize of $25,000 USD

    These prizes can be awarded to the same recipient, if chosen.

  • When will the winners be announced?

    Semifinalists will be announced on April 1, 2019. Semifinalists will be contacted via email.

    Winners will be announced on April 16, 2019. Winners will be chosen at the conclusion of the live pitch event on April 16, 2019.

  • What is the LIFTed Convening?

    The Lumina Investing in Future Talent and Education (LIFTed) Convening was launched as an invite-only gathering of venture capital investors, foundations, nonprofits, education companies, governmental agencies, higher education institutions and impact investors focused on higher education to explore collaboration opportunities to drive Lumina’s mission.

  • What will happen to my solution?

    At the end of the challenge your solution will still belong to you and your team. You will have hopefully made some new connections or perhaps even won a cash prize– all of which can help you advance your solution!

    For more information, check the terms and conditions included in the official rules for the Challenge.

  • Why was my entry disqualified?

    Your entry could be disqualified for several reasons, including (but not limited to):

    • Failure to meet the submission requirements (including eligibility of your organization or failing to provide suitable verification that you are authorized to submit the Entry on behalf of your organization)
    • Violating any of the official rules, terms or conditions of the Challenge;
    • Submitting an Entry that contains content that is not original work, violates the rights of any third party or entity or is deemed by sponsor to be inappropriate or offensive;
    • Failure or inability to be present for the required semi-final or final events; or if
    • Lumina Foundation determines that your participation, Entry and/or award may subject the Challenge, Lumina Foundation or its partners to controversy, negative publicity, scorn, and/or ridicule.
  • Will I be notified if I do not advance to the semifinalist round?

    Due to the large volume of applications, Lumina Foundation is unable to notify, debrief or otherwise communicate with Entrants whose Entries are not selected to advance to the next round.

If you have any question or doubts about what is acceptable, please review the Official Rules and Terms and Conditions for the Challenge.

If you still have a question, please contact us at