Today marks the launch of the College Knowledge Challenge, a competitive grant initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will award $2.5 million to developers who create new digital applications for college access and completion. The contest calls for app developers to create Facebook applications that will help students throughout their college careers in developing personal academic pathways, building out peer groups, or assisting in the college admissions and financial aid processes, for starters.
The Challenge is open to applicants from both for-profit and non-profit organizations, and those applicants selected will be granted $50-100,000 to build out their solution-based app. The primary objective of the Challenge is to create adaptive college support tools that provide students with personalized, actionable strategies for navigating the college years.
Applicants have been tasked to build apps for Facebook in particular because of the popularity of social networking sites among college students. According to Stacey Childress, Deputy Director of Education for the Gates Foundation, “Facebook…contributes not only to academic success but [students'] persistence. They feel more connected and are more likely to stay in school.”
The Challenge kicked off today at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park with an edtech hackathon, where $18,000 in hackathon prizes will be awarded to winners. Submissions for the College Knowledge Challenge are due November 16, and the 30 winners will be announced January 23, 2013.
Developers, have an awesome idea for a great app for college students? You can apply for the College Knowledge Challenge here.