By Allison Dulin Salisbury

The [Rise Prize], totalling $1M, is funded by Imaginable Futures, a venture of The Omidyar Group, and Lumina Foundation. It is designed to support creative, impact-driven organizations of all types in designing new tools, programs, and initiatives to help student parents succeed in postsecondary education.

This new effort extends Imaginable Future’s and Lumina’s growing focus on better understanding students parents’ unique assets and needs—and builds on path-breaking research by partners like Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Entangled Solutions’ 2018 report funded by Omidyar Network, “Parent Learners: Insights for Innovation,” in particular, highlighted the pain points in the current system and potential solutions—and this prize now aims to fund such innovations.

The need, and the potential for impact, are vast. About a quarter of the 17 million students enrolled in associates or bachelor’s degree programs are parents, and they account for a large portion of the 36 million Americans who have some college experience but no degree to show for it. Despite having higher GPAs than other students, student parents have higher dropout rates, take longer to complete credentials, and take on more debt than their nonparent peers. This represents a potentially life-altering setback for the individual—and it can negatively impact the trajectory of an entire family.

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