Announcing Pioneer Institute’s 2018 Better Government Competition Topic: “Making Higher Education & Career Training Options Affordable & Effective”

Each year, the Better Government Competition focuses on one of the country’s greatest public policy challenges. Families today are struggling to afford college, young adults are saddled with crippling debt, and government workforce development programs and existing education models have not been reliable pipelines to stable employment. In recognition of these challenges, Pioneer Institute’s 2018 Better Government Competition seeks ideas to make postsecondary education options for high school graduates more affordable, accessible, and effective.

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Entry Deadline: Papers of up to five (5) pages due by Friday, March 30th  at 4:00 PM ET. 

Submit an idea paper of five or fewer pages describing the problem you’re addressing and your solution. The “idea” can be a new concept or a recently implemented program that shows promising results. Be sure to touch briefly on the following elements:
• A description, with relevant background, of the problem to be addressed.
• An explanation of the proposed solution and how it will change the current policy landscape in postsecondary education.

If appropriate, cite examples of similar approaches that are currently in place.

If possible, estimate and discuss the costs and benefits of your idea or model compared to current policy approaches, potential obstacles to implementation, and the estimated size of the potential student population that would be affected in Massachusetts. Please note: Legal obstacles or the need for new legislation should not be considered barriers to entry.

Also, we may seek further information regarding your proposal.

email: (include your paper as an attachment)

Shawni Littlehale
Director, Better Government Competition
Pioneer Institute 185 Devonshire Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02110
617-723-2277 ext. 207


  • Developing approaches to address escalating education costs and student loan debt.
  • Generating new information resources to:
    • Guide families through the college application and financial aid processes, and alternative career options;
    • Ensure the value of student investment in higher education — for example, through performance-based funding and transparency tools for consumers.
  • Leveraging digital learning and web-based educational models to contain costs, improve academic quality, and broaden access to online coursework and degree programs.
  • Re-thinking community colleges, for example, through course re-design and other improvements that increase completion rates and, where appropriate, help students transition to four-year colleges.
  • Establishing coordinated, scalable apprenticeship programs and vocational technical options that cultivate middle skills, expand occupational opportunities, and make training new employees more affordable for employers.
  • Explore ways to advance partnerships between postsecondary schools and employers that augment student opportunities for career development.
  • Other ideas? The topics outlined above are examples to help stimulate and guide the development of your proposals. Entrants
    are not limited to the categories listed above and should feel free to draft proposals focused on other ideas based on proven public policy reforms related to higher education costs, postsecondary education opportunities, and workforce competitiveness.
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