Completing a college credential or degree has never been more critical to economic success. However, nationwide, more than 29 million students have enrolled in college and left without receiving a degree or certificate. A disproportionate number of these “some college no degree” students are students of color.
We are excited to announce a new Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) Community Partnership Program (CPP) grant of up to $300,000 over two years. The grant provides funds for wraparound student support services intended to re-engage Adams County* adults (25+) with some college, no degree in CO higher education institutions and facilitates completion of a credential or degree that aligns with Colorado Top Jobs. The grant seeks to contribute to erasing equity gaps between the current attainment level for students of color and the statewide 66% attainment goal, outlined in the Colorado Department of Higher Education's Affordability Roadmap and Master Plan.
This grant is structured as a Pay for Success (outcomes-based contract) project that includes upfront funding and bonus payments tied to success. It will serve as a pilot for future expansion opportunities across the state and in other communities. Outcomes-based contracting (also known as performance-based contracting) seeks to drive public resources toward high-performing programs and services that achieve measurable, long-term outcomes in people's lives. In addition to receiving upfront funding for services, providers are eligible to earn bonus payments for meeting outcome targets and other milestones (to be negotiated with the provider's input).
Student support service providers, community partners, public institutions of higher education, workforce centers, and other organizations working to support adults in Adams County to complete a credential or degree are encouraged to apply. Applications are due January 17, 2021
Interested applicants can access and review grant eligibility and application materials in the folders below. Additionally, COSI will host two informational webinars for interested applicants and questions can be directed to email@example.com. Please do not contact staff individually. Please attend a webinar and send questions to the email provided.
- Pay for Success Overview
What is COSI's history of and vision for outcomes-based contracting in CO higher education?
CDHE and COSI began partnering with Third Sector, a national advisory firm, in 2019 when Third Sector facilitated the first national cohort of state systems and college access and success providers dedicated to exploring PFS as a way to catalyze new public funding relationships that would support wraparound services and improve matriculation, persistence, and graduation outcomes for underserved students. Two state systems that participated in the cohort – Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) and Colorado Department of Higher Education – committed to moving forward and launching PFS projects in 2021. Third Sector continues to provide CDHE/COSI support to build and launch the first state system-led college access and success-focused PFS projects.
COSI hopes that this grant will serve as a pilot and that COSI's PFS initiatives will scale in future years. By participating in this grant, COSI hopes that grantees will share their expertise to inform COSI's learning and shaping of this PFS expansion focused on adults with some college, no degree. The information obtained from this RFP may help COSI decide how to move forward.
This grant is structured as an outcomes-based contract that includes upfront funding and bonus payments tied to success. Outcomes-based contracting (also known as performance-based contracting) seeks to drive public resources toward high-performing programs and services that achieve measurable, long-term outcomes in people's lives. In addition to receiving upfront funding for services, providers are eligible to earn bonus payments for meeting outcome targets and other milestones (to be negotiated with the provider's input).
In future years, COSI may utilize Pay for Success financing. PFS financing (broadly synonymous with social impact bonds) is a process through which private funders (e.g., impact investors and/or philanthropy) provide upfront money to fund service providers who deliver programs under the outcomes-based contract. Public funding (often a government agency) later repays the private funders if—and only if—those programs achieve the agreed-upon outcome targets.
Why use outcomes-based contracting in Higher Education?
In higher education, outcomes-based contracting may be used to:
● Finance evidence-informed access and success reforms that improve student enrollment, persistence, and completion outcomes for priority populations
● Bridge the funding gap for programs that deliver long-term outcomes
● Help institutions develop strategies to align funding to outcomes by better measuring and evaluating the impact of wraparound student support services
Outcomes-based contracting offers several benefits to service providers, including:
● Multi-year contracts: Since long-term outcomes take many years to measure, these contracts are often multi-year contracts. This application is for a two-year grant, which allows providers sustainable funding for the years.
● Flexibility in service model and delivery: A focus on outcomes means that a contract does not detail exactly how services are provided. The contract allows providers the flexibility to adjust services to meet student needs better and help them achieve priority outcomes. This flexibility includes tailoring services to be culturally competent and meet the diverse needs of different students.
● Shared data: Outcomes contracts often require new data-sharing structures to measure outcomes, equipping the service provider and the government with additional information. This information can improve services over time and ensure that outcomes are equitable across race and other demographic characteristics. The grantee will be expected to engage in such continuous improvement efforts throughout the grant period.
● A stronger evidence base: Providers have the opportunity to build or strengthen an evidence base for its programs through rigorous measurement and/or evaluation. In addition to having outcomes and impact validated, a third party may also evaluate this project.
● A focus on equity: Outcomes-based contracting can specify that outcomes must be achieved equitably across races, or provide additional incentive for achieving outcomes for populations with disproportionately lower outcomes, thereby creating an explicit focus for all stakeholders (government, providers, and funders) on racial equity.
- Application Materials
Click the button below for access to the Pay for Success request for proposal and application materials
November 19, 2020
RFP Release and Q&A Period opened
November 24 & December 1, 2020
Informational webinar (PFS background, project overview). Click here to access the recordings.
December 7, 2020
Q&A Period ends
December 10, 2020
Q&A responses released. Click here to access the responses.
December 14, 2020
Application available in the portal
January 17, 2021
January 18-22, 2021
Review committee reviews applications and select finalists for interviews
January 27-29, 2021
The review committee makes the final selection
February 10, 2021
Notification of awards to all applicant(s)
March 1, 2021
Executed agreement and grantee(s) begin the staff hiring process (if applicable) with a staff start date of May 1
Pre-launch phase: grantee(s) collaborate with COSI to finalize the statement of work, budget, reporting, and PFS terms (if applicable)
May 1, 2021
Program launched, and staff is hired (if applicable) and ready to serve students
- Application Support
Informational Webinar and Q & A
Q & A Period
November 19-December 7
Please do not contact the staff individually. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Responses will be posted here.
November 24 at 10 am
Zoom Meeting ID: 820 5309 7467/Passcode: 084665
A recording of the meeting will be posted here.
December 1 at 1 pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 861 5403 5956/Passcode: 744844
A recording of the meeting will be posted here.