Student Seed Innovation Grants

Sponsored by Creativity & Innovation at CC, Student Seed Innovation Grants (SSIG) are donor-funded grants of $3,000 - $8,000 designed to empower students to investigate questions and solve real world problems.  

The SSIG program seeks to be an idea accelerator by providing resources for students to be creative problem-solvers, to embrace ambiguity, and to iterate a project/idea forward. Additionally, the SSIG program helps fulfill Creativity & Innovation at CC’s mission to empower students with the tools and creative confidence to be change-makers. The use of the word change-maker is intentional and different from entrepreneur. Change-maker recognizes that innovation happens not only in the business and tech worlds, but culturally, socially, and personally as well.

When selecting SSIG recipients, an important element that the committee will be looking for is the applicant's passion to explore the project question, seek a solution, and/or solve a problem. Students do not need to know exactly how a solution will unfold when submitting an application. They will need to demonstrate an authentic desire and drive to achieve the project goals and iterate the project through the various stages of development and execution.

Who Can Apply for a Student Seed Innovation Grant?

Any student currently enrolled and taking classes at Colorado College may apply to receive an SSIG.

Individuals or teams may apply. Teams must be comprised of at least 50% CC students. 

  • Individuals may apply for grants up to $6,000.
  • Teams of two or more CC students may apply for grants up to $8,000.
  • Teams of one CC student and one non-CC individual may apply for grants up to $6,000. 

CC seniors may apply for an SSIG if:

  • The grant application is submitted prior to/in the same month as their graduation date
  • The proposed project will complete within 12-months of their graduation

SSIG Requirements

    • All SSIG projects must have a project mentor – see information below
    • SSIG grant projects must be designed to commence and complete within 12-months of grant award notification
    • Students may receive only one SSIG per academic year *.
      • *Applicants may apply for a second round of funding for the same project within the same academic year. The first phase of the project must be completed/funds exhausted to apply for second round funding.
      • Applicants will be required to complete the full application process for a second round of funding.
      • If applying for a second, new SSIG project, the initial SSIG project must be completed in full.
    • Proposed SSIG projects do not need to be framed as a business
    • SSIG funds cannot be used to:
    • Fund patent applications
    • Rent office space
      • A portion of SSIG funds may be used to subsidize living expenses while working on a project. Living expenses subsidized by SSIG funds should be kept to a minimum.
    • Hire staff
    • Hire outside contractors to complete the project
      • Recipients may use grant funds to pay a professional to teach the recipient/s a specific skill or to assist in a technological, design, manufacturing, etc. element however, hiring contractors to undertake/complete the majority of the proposed grant project is prohibited

    Please contact Kate Carroll ( with questions about any of these guidelines.

SSIG Mentors and Letters of Recommendation 

All Student Seed Innovation Grant projects must have a project mentor who will help guide the student/student team through the project ideation and implementation process. Mentors will provide guidance, support, and feedback to SSIG recipients to ensure that students make progress toward completion of their projects. SSIG applicants should choose a mentor who is a good fit for the project and who will help the applicant/s think through problems and road blocks.

One mentor per project is required.

Mentors will not be tasked with:

  • Setting project meetings
  • Initiating requests for project updates
  • Completing project tasks/assignments 

The SSIG recipient/team will:

  • Ensure the project mentor is kept up-to-date on project progress
  • Schedule meetings (at least once a month) to update the mentor on the project and/or ask relevant questions/request feedback. 

Mentors can be CC faculty and/or staff members, but do not have to be. Mentors may be community members (local or not) with relevant expertise.

SSIG applicants must send the proposed mentor the Mentor Information Document (available for download here or available within the SUMMIT application). Applicants must discuss the proposed project scope with their chosen mentor prior to applying for a grant. Mentors must submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant/s. Please see the Mentor Information Document for more information on the mentor role and mentor letter of recommendation.

In addition to the mentor letter of recommendation, each SSIG project is required to have a faculty member write a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant/s. The faculty member letter of recommendation should highlight the applicant/s ability and desire to take on the proposed project. One faculty member letter of recommendation per project is required.

Application Due Dates and Submission Requirements

Applications are due the last Wednesday of block 1, 3, J, 5 and 7 and must include the following:

  • Grant Application completed via SUMMIT
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Mentor LOR (one per project)
    • Faculty LOR (one per project)
  • Official college transcript
  • Official student account statement
    • This is to ensure the applicant does not have outstanding fines or miscellaneous fees due to the college (e.g. parking tickets, library fines). Fees do not include tuition fees, room/board fees, etc.
  • Estimated project budget 

Applicants, please note: it is only when the you complete the SUMMIT application, upload all the required documents and hit Submit that the mentor and faculty member are emailed by the system to upload their letters of recommendation. Please keep that in mind for timing purposes.

Other requirements depending on project scope:

  • If working with humans, applicants must contact the Institutional Review Board for approval and include the approval document with the application.
  • If working with vertebrate animals, applicants must receive approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for the project and include the approval document with their application.
  • If travelling internationally, students must consult with the Center for Global Education & Field Study and provide documentation of meeting, including authorization to travel to the specified destination.

Grant submissions are reviewed and awarded by the SSIG Grant Committee which is comprised of Creativity & Innovation at CC staff and Creativity & Innovation steering committee members.

Applicants may be asked to participate in a question/answer session with members of the grant committee to further explain a project’s objective/approach prior to a decision being made. 

Click this link to be redirected to the SSIG application on SUMMIT.

SSIG Award Notification

The students chosen to receive an SSIG will be notified by end of the second week of the block following submission.

Students not chosen to receive an SSIG will be given feedback from the committee on how to improve their application and may resubmit for an SSIG in the next submission cycle.

SSIG Distribution of Funds

Prior to receiving the initial grant funds, recipients will e-sign documents stating:

  • They will thank the donor funding the SSIG grants by writing a hand-written thank you note.
    • The thank you note will be delivered by C&I at CC to the donor on behalf of the recipient.
  • They will repay up to 50% of the total grant amount if they abandon the project prior to completion (total amount due will be at the discretion of the SSIG committee).
    • Project scope may change, but abandonment of the project entirely will result in repayment.
  • They commit to the SSIG recipient/s mentor agreement (summarized in the Mentor Information Document). 

In addition, recipients will be sent direct deposit and W-9 forms to complete electronically (if not already on file with the College). Please note, SSIG funds are subject to tax liability. 

SSIG funds will be paid in two parts. The first half of the grant total will be deposited into the bank account on-file with the College. This will happen within two-weeks of the completion of the e-signature forms.

To receive the second half of the total grant amount, recipients will be required to submit a progress report on their project midway/not later than 6-months after the initial money is received. The progress report must include:

  • Recap of the project idea/objective.
  • Actions taken to date to fulfill the project idea/objectives.
  • Initial learning/insights based on the action taken to date.
    • This can include a shift of idea/objective focus based on learnings to date. If the SSIG idea/objective has changed, a thorough explanation of how the project has changed and how the project will move forward to completion is required.
  • Budget (estimated) of how the initial grant amount has been spent to date
    • Expenditures of $50 or more must have a receipt; make sure to keep all SSIG receipts of $50 or more.
  • Confirmation from student mentor that the progress report is accurate.
  • Once the progress report is submitted and reviewed by the SSIG committee, the remainder of the grant money will be deposited into the recipient’s account.

SSIG Reporting and Presentation Requirements

Upon completion of the SSIG project, not more than 12-months following the SSIG award announcement, grant recipients will be required to submit the following:

  • A reflection essay or presentation that highlights what was learned and how they were changed by the project/experience.
  • A final budget, including receipts for expenditures over $50, itemizing how the grant money was spent.

A certain number of grant recipients will be invited to attend, present and participate in a Q&A session with the SSIG committee and others at the annual SSIG reception. This reception will coincide with the annual Creativity & Innovation at CC steering committee meeting and/or the annual Venture Grant showcase.

  • Students who have graduated and who are invited to present will be required to attend.
  • Travel arrangements, if necessary, will be arranged with Creativity & Innovation at CC.

Please contact Kate Carroll ( with questions or for more information about the SSIG program.


Click this link to be redirected to the SSIG application on SUMMIT.

Report an issue - Last updated: 10/21/2021