Strada Launches Second Phase of $10 Million Beyond Completion Challenge in Partnership With the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity

Phase 2 allows Taskforce members to seek up to $1.5 million ($6.25 million total) to expand efforts to connect education to employment.

INDIANAPOLIS — (May 16, 2022) — Strada Education Network announced today the second phase of its $10 million Beyond Completion Challenge, designed to help higher education institutions scale promising efforts to improve long-term outcomes for many more students, especially those who historically have faced the greatest barriers in education and the workforce.

Phase 2 grantees may receive up to $1.5 million each to scale and evaluate their initiatives over a three-year grant cycle. Strada has committed a total of $6.25 million for Phase 2, as part of the larger $10 million Beyond Completion Challenge. Recipients will be announced in early 2023.

“As we look to recover from a worldwide pandemic that has disrupted education and work and destabilized the economy, we must shift our focus beyond completion of degrees and other credentials. Designing and delivering an educational experience that better connects learning with career as well as personal and professional development will help ensure that all students can achieve their goals in seeking postsecondary education,” said Strada Impact President Ruth Watkins, Ph.D. “Phase 1 showed us there is no shortage of great ideas for how to improve students’ educational experiences and outcomes. What we need now is to evaluate new approaches that help those who have faced the greatest barriers realize the benefit of colleges and then ensure effective strategies reach as many students as possible.” 

The most-aligned Phase 2 proposals will include:

  • A commitment to improve economic and social outcomes for students who historically have faced the greatest barriers in education and the workforce.
  • A focus on connections to career and the delivery of measurable economic, social and employment outcomes. 
  • An approach to scaling where evidence demonstrates promising outcomes. 
  • A future state where the initiatives can be sustained through institutional or other nonphilanthropic support. 

Strada is partnering with the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity to conduct the Beyond Completion Challenge. The program aims to reimagine higher education in ways that better serve students’ needs. The challenge — which includes $3.75 million in previously awarded innovation grants in addition to the scaling grants announced today — is intended to support initiatives that will focus on equitable outcomes through and beyond college completion.

The Taskforce, created in spring 2020 by three dozen presidents and chancellors representing close to 100 colleges and universities and 2.4 million students, has been working to improve higher education to address persistent inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated. It receives organizational support from McKinsey & Company.

Taskforce members are invited to submit their proposals for scaling grants by Sept. 1, 2022, and recipients will be announced in early 2023.

About the Beyond Completion Challenge
During Phase 1 of the Challenge in early 2022, Strada selected 15 institutions to receive up to $250,000 each in innovation grants to help students increase equitable and measurable postcompletion outcomes. The emphasis in Phase 2 is on scaling grants to reach larger numbers of students and expand effective practices. All institutions that are members of the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity are invited to compete for up to $1.5 million in scaling grants.

Learn more about the Taskforce’s work and Strada’s Beyond Completion Challenge here.


About Strada Education Network

Strada Education Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people leverage education and training after high school to achieve their career and life goals. We conduct research; make charitable grants and social impact investments; and support the nonprofit organizations Roadtrip Nation, InsideTrack, Education at Work, and the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning, which directly serve students and workers. Learn more at

About the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity

The Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity is a community of three dozen presidents and chancellors representing nearly 100 public, private, two-year and four-year institutions and 2.4 million students. The Taskforce was launched in 2020 to address the challenges of the pandemic, income inequality, the changing nature of work and unemployment among recent college graduates. Learn more at

Media Contact: Patty Mason, Senior Director, Strategic Communications