Who are the Sponsors and Administrator of the College Knowledge Challenge?

The sponsors are the King Center Charter School (KCCS) and College Summit with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook, Inc.  The administrator of the Challenge is KCCS with intermediary support from Redpoint Education.

Can you give some more detail on what is required in question 1k (Organization Presentation)?

The organization presentation is just a short overview (history, products, markets, skillsets etc.) that shows the expertise and experience that supports the development of your app idea. It’s an opportunity to brag about your organizational capability to develop your app idea.

Can a team submit more than one app?

A team can submit more than one app.  Both apps should be submitted separately by creating two logins and submitting two separate proposals.

Can more than one institution partner together to submit a proposal and develop an app?

Applicants can partner with other organizations in app submission and development.  Subcontracting of work is also allowable.  In all cases, one organization must be designated as the primary grantee to both receive the grant as well as be fully responsible for delivery of the final product.

Does the app have to be free or can it include a small fee for use?

The app does not have to be free, but it does have to be affordable to low income communities.  In addition to affordability, the judges will be looking for an app distribution plan that provides enough funding for the app to be maintained post-launch.  A reasonable fee could potentially be a part of that sustainability plan.

How will award amounts be determined and how is the grant money distributed?

20 to 30 winners will be granted $50,000 to $100,000 depending on the scope of their project. Once a project is admitted to the program and begins development, applicants will receive 40% of the funds. The rest will be granted when the final product is certified and launched to customers. Winners will be required to provide data and reporting on app development progress and app usage.

Does my app have to link to Facebook?

Yes. All apps require a link to Facebook in some way (see tech specs at https://developers.facebook.com/).  By linking with Facebook, we hope to promote creative apps that utilize the unique capabilities of and student interest in the world’s largest social network.  It is not a requirement that all apps be Facebook apps (i.e. built directly on the Facebook platform).

The RFP requires an explanation of the plan and process to be followed to build the app. How detailed does the plan have to be?

The plan will be the basis for an evaluation of progress toward an on-time and high-quality delivery of the app and the second grant payout.  As such, it should lay out all major milestones including development, evaluation, testing and quality assurance.  It should include estimated dates for all key deliverables on the path to a successful launch in September 2013.

Can apps use proprietary data, and what options are available to more easily manage student private data?

It is important to abide by all FERPA requirements in the capture and use of student private data.  The College Knowledge Challenge encourages all legal use of that data to provide real value to students and parents in managing progress toward college.  The Gates Foundation is also offering the opportunity to link to the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) to make it easier to manage and share student data.  For information on how to make your app SLC compatible, please see http://dev.slcedu.org.

Is the Challenge promoting any other platforms that could help me deliver a truly engaging and impactful app?

The Challenge is promoting Mozilla’s Open Badges platform to provide applicants with another option to easily add impactful features to their app.  Awarding badges to students can be very effective in motivating them to achieve college access and persistence milestones.  For more information, see: http://dmlcompetition.net/Competition/4/badges-about.php .

Does the Challenge fund only new apps or will it also fund ongoing development of current apps?

The College Knowledge Challenge funds new and innovative apps that have not yet launched to the public.  The Challenge will also consider funding apps that are moving to new platforms (e.g. web to mobile) or apps that have substantial, new functionality.

Who​ can apply?

The College Knowledge Challenge is open for companies and organizations that are domiciled in the United States and incorporated at the time of entry and have an EIN. The Challenge is not open to single member LLCs or individuals who are not employed by or affiliated with any formal organization.

How do I submit my proposal?

Just create an account and fill in the application form. An application can be updated up until the deadline on November 16th or until you click Submit. Once you click Submit, your submission can no longer be changed. We encourage all applicants to apply before the deadline so we can give feedback on proposals.

What are the selection critieria for my app to be selected by the College Knowledge Challenge program?

Broadly, your proposal must:

  • Represent an innovative approach that is responsive to one or more of the top 3 roadblocks facing low income students in getting to and through college.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the college-going process and the needs, habits, and practices of low-income and first-generation students.
  • Deliver an intuitive, user-friendly interface that provides information AND coaches the student toward college-oriented actions associated with positive educational outcomes.
  • Take full advantage of the potential for social engagement where appropriate.
  • Produce applications that are broadly accessible to low-income and first-generation college students through the applications’ content, approach, pricing, and distribution models.
  • Present an idea and a plan for development that can realistically be implemented and delivered within the allowable timeframe.

Who are the judges?

The judges are representatives from College Summit, Facebook, and the Gates Foundation as well as a panel of experts. The judges are led by the project lead, Dr. Keith Frome.

Do I retain intellectual property ownership?

Yes, all entrants, regardless of winner status, will retain intellectual property ownership of their software applications. However, winners must agree to support global access objectives by conducting and managing the project and information in a manner that enables (a) the knowledge gained during the project to be promptly and broadly disseminated and (b) the intended products to be made available and accessible for free or at reasonable cost to the people most in need.

What will you do with my submission?

The College Knowledge Challenge sponsors and administrator will have the right to display and promote your submission to the public on the challenge website and partners’ sites. They will also be allowed to publicize your name in connection with the submission and the Challenge.

Can my app include advertisements?

The Challenge rules do not prohibit advertising in applications. Please note, however, that if the content of the ads is deemed inappropriate, your submission may be disqualified.

What support does the College Knowledge Challenge provide for developers?

The College Knowledge Challenge provides funding (grant awards, no equity investment, no commission) along with information on the college access and persistence marketplace and ongoing guidance on user needs. College Summit and Redpoint experts will be available for technical questions and questions about the obstacles and opportunities facing low-income students. Once the winners are announced, Redpoint will work with them to ensure that all projects are completed in line with the original proposal and on time.

App is a broad term. What are you looking for? Productivity tools, games, social media etc?

We do not exclude any type of app, other than those that have socially inappropriate content. We are very focused on the impact of the app, which may be a combination of potential positive impact on society, potential volume of penetration, and potential ongoing revenue model. All apps need to link in some way to Facebook to leverage the power of this social network. We are looking for apps that have the potential to change the trajectory of young lives that are at risk of falling off the college-going and college-completing path.

What are the key Challenge dates?

The Challenge begins on September 27, 2012 with the deadline for proposal submission on November 16, 2012. Judging will be complete by January 11, 2013 and winners will be announced by January 23, 2013.

Where can I check or update the status of my application?

Proposals are only final when you submit on the Apply page. Proposals can be changed up until submission or before the November 16 deadline. Please create an account on our website to upload and manage your proposal.

How do I follow the College Knowledge Challenge and receive updates?

Create an account on the website to receive e-mail updates. Check our blog page for ongoing discussions and information. Follow us on Facebook or Linkedin at College Knowledge Challenge or Twitter at @CollegeKC.

When will I get feedback on my College Knowledge Challenge app?

Feedback will be provided only when the judging team needs more details to make an informed decision. Winners will be announced in mid-January. Please be sure to include contact information for your primary point of contact so feedback can be provided during the process if necessary.