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Degree Completion Challenge

The U seeks ideas and strategies that are new or that scale an existing successful program for an opportunity to receive up to $100K.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed, in partnership with President Ruth V. Watkins, announce a new campus innovation challenge aimed at incubating ideas to accelerate baccalaureate degree completion. University of Utah organizations, students, faculty and staff are invited to submit innovative proposals that will help more U students complete their undergraduate degrees within six years.

Reed and Watkins seek ideas and strategies that are new or that scale an existing successful program for an opportunity to receive up to $50,000 to develop and implement the idea. The challenge will award $100,000 in funding for up to three proposals.

“Developing programs that help more students attain their degree is a key component of ensuring student success, and reinforces the value of a degree from the University of Utah. We hope to receive innovative, effective proposals that will advance completion on campus,” said Reed.

The completion of a college degree is a powerful tool in reducing the risk of poverty and unemployment and in increasing individual lifetime earnings. The U has increased its six-year graduation rate by 10% over the past six years, and 16% over the past nine years. However, there is still work to do, said Reed. Institutional research shows that many students continue to face financial barriers, health challenges and have difficulty finding an academic path and a sense of belonging on campus.

Successful proposals will include a clear description, rationale, plan for implementation, timeline and impact of the idea. Proposals may target students across campus, within schools/colleges and/or individual units, and each proposal may request up to $50,000 in one-time funding. Teams selected may also be eligible for additional funding opportunities through the U, the American Dream Ideas Challenge and other local and national philanthropic sources. Selected teams will also continue to meet with the challenge leadership for progress updates.

Visit for more information on the Degree Completion Challenge, U graduation rates and proposal guidelines. The proposal deadline is June 30, 2019. For more information and questions, please contact Cassie Slattery.