About the Innovation Awards

The Awards are designed to support breakthrough innovations at a California community college or district that improve student success, demonstrate revolutionary learning or student support models, are sustainable, and can be scaled regionally or throughout the state.

These awards represent the system’s commitment to finding new practices that will help close the achievement gap for underrepresented students and support the Vision for Success.

These awards will support sites across many different communities that are in the process of scaling promising practices that align with the system goals illustrated in the Vision for Success. Chosen sites will be expected to continue scaling the innovation identified and work with the Chancellor's Office to disseminate that promising practice for the benefit of other sites.

The legislation directs the Board of Governors to give preference to innovations that: 

  • Incorporate technology to improve instruction and support services
  • May encourage partnership between the community college and other entities
  • Align with the Chancellor’s Vision for Success

The enacting legislation specifically highlights the state’s desire to support the scaling of innovations that improve student outcomes for:

  • Populations underrepresented in higher education, such as low-income students, students from underrepresented schools and neighborhoods, first-generation students, students who are current or former foster youth, and students with disabilities
  • Students who are current or former members of the Armed Forces of the United States
  • Workers displaced from the workforce and adults who are underemployed
  • Incarcerated adults in prisons and jails, including formerly incarcerated adults


California’s 2017-18 budget includes $20 million in one-time funds supporting the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. Disbursements will happen on or before June 30, 2018.

Key Dates

December 8, 2017
Online application opened

December 21, 2017
Notice of Interest due
Number of Notices received - 81

February 7, 2018
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Informational Webinar
Download PDF >

February 12, 2018
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Informational Webinar
Watch the Webinar Recording >

March 2, 2018
Reader training
Number of readers - 28

March 19, 2018
Completed applications submitted
Number of submissions - 65

March 20 - April 6, 2018
Submissions read

April 9-12, 2018
Applicants interviewed

April 17-18, 2018
Committee meetings

April 25, 2018
Notice of Intent to Award sent by IEPI Division

April 27, 2018
Formal notification to applicants

May 13, 2018
Workplans and budgets released to awardees

May 14, 2018
Board of Governors announces awardees

June 30, 2018 (on or before)
Disbursement of award amounts

    Award Selection 

    The Chancellor’s Office staff will lead the process to select the colleges or districts for innovations that directly address the legislative intent of the award and clearly align with the Chancellor’s Vision for Success. Chancellor’s Office staff will also make recommendations about the amount of each award between $1 million and $4 million.

    The California Community Colleges Board of Governors will announce the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education at their May meeting. The number of awardees will vary based on the strength of the submissions and the funding needed to scale the programs. 


    Award Management 

    The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office is responsible for selecting the awardees, administering the Award's funds, defining the required work plan and budget documentation, and working with awardees to scale their programs. 

    The Success Center for California Community Colleges, housed at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, is providing additional support for the implementation of the Awards program.