Lumina is funding work with HBCUs in North Carolina

Lumina Foundation is releasing this Request for Information, as we seek to partner with HBCUs in North Carolina to support institutional sustainability and student success, particularly for adult students.

Through these efforts, successful institutions will implement changes to remove institutional policy barriers and launch new or expand existing efforts to better support Black adult learners.

Selection Process

Eligible institutions include public or private HBCUs within the state of North Carolina. Lumina Foundation will select applicants to submit full grant proposals based on their ability to address the following criteria in their RFI responses:

  • Alignment: A connection between the proposed work and the strategic direction and priorities of the institution
  • Adult Learner-Focused: Clear interest in adult learners and a strong articulation of how proposed grant activities will serve them
  • Institutional Readiness: Prior evidence of serving adult learners or evidence of serious planning and leadership devoted to expanding service to this population
  • Project Outcomes: Namely the identification of potential key institutional policy barriers for adult learners, the development of an action plan to address one or more of these barriers, and a configuration of the right team that is committed to implementing the action plan

Use of Funds

Lumina is interested in strategic investments that increase institutional sustainability and effectiveness to implement student success strategies for Black adult learners. Grant activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Data infrastructure: Without the right data, institutions cannot adequately assess obstacles faced by adult learners and develop ways to keep those individuals on a path to a degree or reconnect with those individuals and build additional on-ramps to completion. Applicants may propose the creation or expansion of data infrastructure to collect outcomes data on adult learners and/or new systems to enable key institutional actors to use those data to inform when students receive proactive outreach from student support services staff and/or faculty.
  • Adult-Centered Student Services: Applicants may propose to develop or enhance an area of their student services (e.g. advising) to center more directly on the needs of adult learners. An applicant also might propose to develop and/or integrate specific student support systems like navigators, coaching, alternative instructional delivery modes, or comprehensive student supports that address adult learners’ life and career goals throughout their educational pathway.
  • Credit for Prior Learning: Applicants may propose the development or implementation of CPL policies and practices. CPL is the process for evaluating and awarding credit for college-level learning that has been acquired outside of the classroom through work and life experience. CPL has a positive correlation with student persistence in higher education, higher graduation rates, and shorter times to degree attainment for adult learners yet, according to recent research, due to the historic underfunding of HBCUs, CPL has been underutilized.
  • Teaching and Learning for Adult Learners: Applicants may propose enhancing faculty knowledge and capacity to teach adult learners and take advantage of the assets they bring to the classroom and institution through the redesign of their courses and their methods of instruction.
  • Clear and Coherent Degree Pathways: Four-year institutions have increasingly been taking a comprehensive approach to institutional transformation through the design and implementation of pathways. Applicants may propose to build institutional capacity to define clear and coherent pathways for degree completion and to ensure high-quality learning while on those pathways. This may include reforms that serve adults such as degree mapping to prevent excess credit accumulation, degree audits of students that have stopped out, course redesign, early alert systems, or career exploration in the first and second year of enrollment.

RFI responses should be sent to by 9 pm EST on July 11, 2021. We will notify applicants in early August about the statuses of their requests. Prospective applicants also may email this address with questions in advance of submitting proposals.

Download full RFP document