Archived for Posterity

Frequently-asked questions about the Envisioning the Next Generation of Student Supports grant program RFP

Who is eligible to submit a proposal? This grant opportunity is offered to members of the College Access Community who currently serve 200 or more individuals annually. Entities eligible to apply for planning grants include the following:

  • 501(c)(3) organizations
  • State systems of higher education
  • Regionally accredited two year and four-year institutions

May I partner with other organizations? Yes. Cross sector partnerships with K-12, public and private organizations are welcome. For-profit educational institutions and corporate entities may not apply directly but may partner with an eligible applicant. If regulations or time constraints prohibit you from naming a specific partner, focus on the capacity, criteria, and competencies needed in a partner organization.

How do I find potential technology partners? Applicants should initiate a search for appropriate partners. Lumina Foundation is providing a list of education technology enterprises through the RFP website as a resource and starting place for organizations unfamiliar with the private sector. This resource should become available in early September. It is provided for informational purposes only. Applicants are NOT required to use it or partner with organizations listed there. A listing does not imply an endorsement by Lumina Foundation.

May I promote this opportunity among innovative organizations with which I work? Yes. We are hopeful that this process will introduce us to emerging work and new organizations.

May my organization submit more than one proposal? No. An organization may submit only one proposal, whether as the sole applicant or as a partner. We may consider proposals from and partnerships with individual satellites or centers of large institutions or systems on a case by case basis. We encourage you to use your internal communication networks to determine potential synergies and conflicts.

How does Lumina Foundation define “college access” for the purposes of this planning grant? The term “college” refers to colleges, universities and other providers of education beyond high school. The barriers to college going are complex and multi-dimensional, particularly for low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Submissions should propose innovative solutions to offering these students academic, social, and financial guidance; reliable access to good information about paying for college; and help with the processes of applying for financial aid and for college admission. Please review the RFP for further information.

What is the size and duration of the planning grant? Proposals should reflect a planning period from six to 12 months in duration with a budget of $150,000-$200,000. All activity supported by this planning grant must be completed within 12 months and be adequately supported by $200,000 or less. Proposals that fail to comply with the scope will not be reviewed.

What activities and expenditures will the planning grant support? Proposals may include costs for market research, purchases of software and systems necessary for planning or expansion, personnel such as temporary staff and consultants, and expenditures necessary to test and gather user feedback of concepts, pilots and prototypes. The planning grant will not support purchases of hardware, particularly for implementation activities such as laptop lending programs.

How do I submit a proposal? Please visit the RFP site to access the proposal forms (narrative and budget). Please review the RFP and pay careful attention to the issues your proposal must address. All proposals should be no more than four double-spaced pages in length. All proposals and supporting materials should be emailed to the attention of Grants Management Associate Candace Brandt at Emails must be titled “Lumina Next Generation Proposal—YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME” to ensure proper routing and timely review.

Does the four page proposal narrative include the Organization Description, Project Timeline and Project Management sections? No. The proposal form does NOT count towards the four page total. Your narrative may be submitted in the proposal form or in a separate document as long as all elements are addressed within the page limit.

Will proposals be held confidential? Yes. We will respect all organization’s right to patents and intellectual property. Applicants will have ownership rights of their ideas and technology. While we are looking for solutions that will improve the college access community, Lumina will not share your efforts with other organizations without your approval.

How do I get responses to any questions I might have about proposal creation/submission? If you have unanswered questions, submit questions in writing to: We commit to replying to your questions within a 48 hour period. Also consider viewing the recording of our September 6 webinar posted on the RFP website.

May I speak directly with a Foundation Program Officer following my submission and during the review process? No. Directly contacting a Program Officer does not expedite or provide a competitive advantage during the review process. Although we appreciate your commitment to evaluating if and how your idea fits the Foundation’s strategic approach, reviewing your initial proposal prior to contacting any finalists will give us the opportunity for more thorough, objective reflection.

This is a call for applications for a planning grant. If my organization’s planning grant is selected and funded, does it guarantee implementation funding at a later date? No. The Foundation does not guarantee implementation support for Next Generation grantees. The Foundation is in the process of determining the nature of its future investment in next generation student supports.

When will the planning grant recipients be notified? Recipients will be notified in November 2011. Public announcement of grants is planned for December 2011.