2014-15 Awards for Innovation in Higher Education

Thank you for your interest. The Awards for Innovation in Higher Education have concluded. The Department of Finance hopes to continue recognizing innovation in higher education. If you know of new policies, practices, or systems that can help to meet the state's goals for higher education, please contact us at innovationawards@dof.ca.gov.


The Budget Act of 2014 appropriates $50 million in one-time resources from the General Fund for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. The program recognizes California community colleges, California State University (CSU) campuses, and University of California (UC) campuses that change existing policies, practices, or systems to achieve the following priorities:

  • Significantly increase the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded.
  • Allow students to complete bachelor’s degrees within four years after beginning higher education.
  • Ease transfer through the state’s education system by better recognizing learning that occurs across the state’s education segments and elsewhere.

Any California community college, CSU campus, or UC campus may submit, individually or as part of a group, an application for an award to the Director of Finance until January 9, 2015.

A committee will be convened to select which campuses receive awards and determine the amount of funds included in each of those awards.  The committee will consist of the following members: the Director of Finance or his designee, either of whom will serve as the committee’s chairperson; a member of the State Board of Education selected by the Governor; a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors selected by the Governor; a CSU trustee selected by the Governor; a UC regent selected by the Governor; an appointee of the Senate Committee on Rules; and an appointee of the Assembly Speaker.

These awards will be made based on the extent to which the changes described in the applications address the following criteria:

  • Alignment:  The extent to which the changes credibly achieve the state’s priorities at a lower cost than existing policies, practices, and systems, without requiring that students pay increased tuition or fees.
  • Scale:  The extent to which the changes involve broad participation by UC campuses, CSU campuses, community colleges, and local education agencies, including school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, and can be replicated by other campuses.
  • Commitment:  The extent to which the campuses show commitment to achieving the state’s priorities, as evidenced by changes made on or after January 10, 2014; the likelihood that any planned changes would be implemented; the support of faculty, students, and other individuals and groups involved in or impacted by these changes; and the ability to sustain changes over the long-term.

As a condition of receiving an award, a campus or group selected for an award will be required to report on how the funds will be used and commit to reporting to the state about the effectiveness of its changes.  Use of the funds must be approved by the committee before the Director of Finance may distribute an award to that campus or group.


The Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education has selected the following applications for awards (organized by group, with only the application number and coordinating institution listed):

Group 1

[12] California State University, Monterey Bay (#1)
[16] California State University, San Bernardino
[31] Long Beach City College
[43] Santa Ana College
[46] Shasta College

Group 2

[08] California State University, Dominguez Hills
[13] California State University, Monterey Bay (#2)
[21] City College of San Francisco
[30] Humboldt State University
[41] San Francisco State University

Group 3

[03] Butte College
[18] California State University, San Marcos (#2)
[52] University of California, Los Angeles
[57] West Hills College, Lemoore

The link below includes a more complete listing of the participants in each of these applications, as they were identified by the applicants.

The committee has allocated $5,000,000 to each of the applicants in Group 1, $3,000,000 to each of the applicants in Group 2, and $2,500,000 to each of the applicants in Group 3.

The committee is required to approve the proposed uses of an award before the Director of Finance releases funds to the coordinating institution of an application selected for an award.

List of Applications, by Group




Submitted Applications

Summary of Applications Eligible for Awards

Application Abstracts

Application Package

Final Application Package, Released September 29, 2014

Archived Information Regarding Application Process

Updates Regarding Application Process


Committee Members

Michael Cohen, Chair
Arnoldo Avalos
Sue Burr
Constance Carroll
Douglas Faigin
Dean Florez
Monica Lozano


April 27, 2015 Committee Meeting

March 20, 2015 Committee Meeting

September 29, 2014 Committee Meeting

September 16, 2014 Committee Meeting


More Information


$50 Million Awarded for Innovation in Higher Education

Governor Brown Announces Appointments

Governor Brown Announces Appointments to the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education


Language Included in Item 6910-101-0001 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

Responses to FAQs as of October 16, 2014

Responses to FAQs as of August 21, 2014

Conference Calls

Recording of the Conference Call Regarding Program Overview Held July 21, 2014

Text of DOF Comments, as Prepared for Delivery, for the Conference Call Regarding Program Overview Held July 21, 2014

Mailing List

Program information, including notices of meetings of the selection committee and distribution of the application for awards, will be sent using an email mailing list. You can sign up for this list at the link below.

Awards for Innovation in Higher Education Mailing List

Email Address

Please email innovationawards@dof.ca.gov with any questions or comments regarding the program.

Webpage last updated October 23, 2015

Department of Finance Seal
Governor Brown
Finance Director Michael Cohen

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