Play Video


The College Success Prize is designed to empower students and arm them with the tools they need to graduate college. With the ultimate goal of alleviating poverty, the prize hopes to spur the development of an innovative, scalable, and technology-enabled tool that can help more students graduate from community college.


The Prize was designed by the behavioral design lab ideas42, using insights from social and behavioral science to inform the structure and goals of the competition. ideas42 also provided resources and advice to contestants on how to further develop and improve their tech-based interventions with behavioral science.



Getting a college degree is more important than ever for future earnings. Low-income workers can greatly improve their likelihood of advancing to the middle class by attaining college degrees. In the United States, individuals with associate degrees will earn — on average — about $10,000 more per year than college dropouts.

In New York City, over 80% of incoming community college freshmen are required to take remedial courses before they can take college-level classes (despite having earned high school diplomas or equivalent certificates). And of those freshmen taking remedial classes, 75% will fail to earn their associates degrees within six years.


The competition opened in March 2014 to individuals and teams that develop scalable solutions that will help more community college students graduate within two to three years. Competitors choose to address whichever set of student skills they believe will produce the greatest success, including subjects like math, reading, or writing, as well as behavioral, non-cognitive, or non-academic factors.

The Prize will reward successful interventions — such as smartphone apps, computer applications, and web-based tools — that are aimed at the individual student and will supplement existing curricula and supportive services such as tutoring.

A randomized controlled trial (R.C.T.) of the two finalist interventions is underway with City University of New York students who enrolled in the fall of 2015. Full results of the R.C.T., including any impact on three-year graduation rates, will be available in early 2019.

iconPage 1Fill 1Fill 1Fill 1 copyatargetImported Layers Copy 2Fill 1Fill 1Fill 1RH-logo-nega_1Page 1

Thank you!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.