Nearly $3 million available to reimagine higher ed admissions, enrollment, financial aid

INDIANAPOLIS — Bachelor’s programs are losing students at shocking rates. Test-optional policies have become the norm. And more recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against considering race as a factor in college admissions. To transform how potential students get into college, Lumina Foundation is launching The Great Admissions Redesign, a challenge to find and support the best ideas on how to simplify the admissions process.

“COVID, changing testing policies, and the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on admissions practices are causing once-in-a-generation upheaval within college admissions,” said Lumina Strategy Director Melanie Heath. “These conditions create an opportunity for rethinking admissions. Now is the time to reimagine how colleges connect with—and better serve—today’s students.”

Lumina will select applicants to submit full grant proposals based on their ability to address the following criteria:

  • Opportunity: Demonstrated commitment and a clear outline of how the proposed project will increase college opportunities for students of color, students from low-income families, and first-generation students.
  • Simplicity: Clear explanation of how the project will reduce complexity in admissions and enrollment processes in terms of reliance on automation, proactively engaging potential students, and the overall transparency of the process.
  • Innovation: The extent to which the project reimagines how students are admitted and enrolled.

Lumina will accept applications from 1) state agencies and quasi-public organizations, 2) state systems of higher education that include public bachelor’s-granting universities or colleges, and 3) a group of three or more public or private nonprofit institutions that includes at least one public or private bachelor’s-granting institution.

Lumina will consider two types of funding requests. Planning proposals should come from applicants in the early stages of developing a vision for redesigned admissions, enrollment, and financial aid processes. Lumina will select up to five entities to submit planning proposals for 12-month grants for up to $100,000 each. Implementation proposals should come from applicants with existing work on redesigned admissions, enrollment, and financial aid processes. Lumina will choose up to three entities to submit full grant proposals for funding of $500,000 to $750,000 with a grant period starting in January 2024 and ending in November 2025. For both types of grants, awards will vary based on the quality of proposals and the proposed project budgets.

Responses are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 6. Successful applicants will be notified by mid-November. An informational webinar is scheduled for noon EDT Tuesday, Sept. 12.  Registration is required.



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