Robin Hood Foundation College Success Prize

Overview: The Semi-Finalists of the Robin Hood Foundation College Success Prize

The Robin Hood Foundation announced the semi-finalists of its College Success Prize. Through the competition, the Robin Hood Foundation aims to find scalable and technology-enabled tools to improve the performance of underprepared college students and thus help them to graduate in a timely fashion.

Each semi-finalist receives a $40.000 development grant and support in form of workshops and coaching. The three finalists which will be announced in January 2015 receive an additional $60.000 grant and can win up to $5 million, including the Grand Prize of $3.5 million which will be announced in October 2018.

The seventeen semi-finalists are a mix of edtech startups, established companies and early stage concepts.

Beyond 12

Beyond 12The Beyond 12 “MyCoach” app helps students keep track of deadlines and milestones, and, based on the college students are attending, provides them with personalized tools and tips to help navigate their college experience.

Students receive automated alerts (mimicking the nudges from a live coach) on their mobile devices that include links to the campus resources available to help them complete certain tasks. In addition, the app allows students to record completion of tasks; motivates students, in the form of points and badges, for skill and knowledge mastery; and encourages students to share their experiences with peers.


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Carney Labs LLC

MARiCollege Champion will address common college freshman obstacles (e.g., time management, scheduling priorities), provide a clear channel of ongoing support and encouragement, deliver self-motivating prompts, and link communities of students to encourage connectedness at CUNY.

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Core Skills Mastery

Core Skills MasteryCore Skills Mastery (CSM) is a free web-based course that monitors and responds to student issues in key math and literacy skills; problem-solving strategies and mindset; active, independent learning; and performance traits like persistence, self-efficacy, and conscientiousness.

CSM incorporates an advanced adaptive learning engine, requires a significantly higher level of mastery than most competency-based models, employs an instructional model of intrinsic motivation and meta-cognition, and directly addresses learned helplessness.

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Dedicated is a mobile app for community college students.

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EdReadyEdReady is a math readiness system for anyone considering attending college in the United States.

The purpose of EdReady is to help prepare students to avoid remedial instruction and begin their college studies by giving them the resources they need to achieve adequate scores on the commonly used placement exams AccuPlacer, Compass, and ACT.

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Education Advisory Board

Education Advisory BoardTo give every student her or his own personalized pathway to success, EAB (a division of the Advisory Board Company) has built a platform that marries goals with outcomes, life with school, and needs with resources all to ensure that students stay on track through all of life’s ups and downs.



GradGuruGradGuru is a free app that helps students get through college with school deadlines, advice, and a way to earn rewards for doing to the right things.

GradGuru reduces community college drop out rates and accelerates students’ completion.

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JumpCourseJumpCourse offers best-in-class online, adaptive learning courses to prepare students for college entrance exams as well as credit by exam (i.e., CLEP).

The affordable courses offer the best in adaptive learning technology, as well as professionally produced videos, eBooks, and hundreds of interactives to ensure students are learning the material to pass their exam, and students currently boast an over 95% pass rate for CLEP.

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KinvolvedKinvolved is improving graduation rates of community college students with an app to increase attendance and real-time communication among student support networks.

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Kipin Hall

Kipin HallKipin Hall is a mobile and web based retention solution for higher-ed. The app uses a proven set of behavioral studies to help students achieve their academic goals.

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KnowReKnowRe is an online adaptive learning program for mathematics. KnowRe believes that the most effective educational approach is one that is personalized to the needs of each individual student and that technology is the most efficient way to scale that approach.


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LimeSpringLimeSpring provides a developmental (remedial) math solution that can be used to create a blended learning environment. Using LimeSpring CUNY students have passed developmental math at a rate of 87% (as compared to the national average of ~30%) and reported increases in interest and confidence in the field of mathematics.


GPS LifePlan

GPS LifeplanThe GPS LifePlan has a history of improving community college retention and graduation rates for students. The proposed improvements to the existing customer relationship management system will increase usage and enhance the effect of participation.


Persistence Plus

Persistence PlusPersistence Plus is a mission-driven organization focused on increasing college persistence and completion. Using cutting-edge behavioral interventions, mobile technology, and data analytics, Persistence Plus fosters the student behaviors and mindsets that are associated with college success.



PonderWhere social media meets critical thinking to support student-driven learning and discussion around coursework, career and life.

Ponder deepens class discussion around any text or video you can browse to.

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Stanford Interventions Lab

Stanford Interventions LabMany disadvantaged students fail to achieve their potential in school because they are burdened with worries tied to their marginalized status, such as the fear of being negatively stereotyped and the daily hassles of poverty that shorten cognitive bandwidth. Two brief intervention strategies, each supported by prior research, will be tested via mobile technology and will serve to make it easier for disadvantaged students, first, to make decisions better aligned with their long-term self interest, through timely reminders of adaptive but easily forgotten academic behaviors, and, second, to attain a level of academic performance more reflective of their abilities, through stress-reducing writing exercises delivered before high-stakes tests.


Team InfoMe

An interactive, customizable, and easily understandable platform with two main components: 1) an in-course success tool and 2) a course selection planning tool. The application will help students effectively identify, evaluate, and process the multitude of choices they are asked to make, so that they can make the right decisions for themselves and in the end, reach their goals of college success.

Further Reading

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at