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Persistence Plus Receives $25,000 APUS Prize for Innovation in Online Education

Dual Prize-Winner Also Invited to Participate in New Education Design Studio Fund as Part of 2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

 Charles Town, WV, May 13, 2013American Public University System today announced that Boston-based Persistence Plus has received the 2013 APUS Prize for Innovation in Online Education. Part of the annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC), the $25,000 award recognizes the best business plan that leverages online/distance learning within higher education.

Persistence Plus leverages mobile technology and cutting-edge behavioral research to foster the specific student behaviors and mindsets that help lead to college persistence, completion, and life success. Co-founded by Jill Frankfort and Dr. Kenny Salim, the company also won the $15,000 Milken Family Foundation Second Prize in the competition, and was invited to participate in the Education Design Studio Fund, a new initiative created in tandem with EBPC.

“I’m very pleased to congratulate Jill and Dr. Salim for this recognition, and also for being recognized separately for their innovative platform designed to help enhance learning outcomes,” said Dr. Wallace E. Boston, APUS president & CEO. “Our annual prize is designed to support the growth and success of e‐learning in higher education, and their vision aligns closely with our own longstanding commitment to student success.” Dr. Boston, a Penn GSE graduate, served as a judge for the competition, which recognized seven winners overall with a total of $145,000 in prize funding.

Jill Frankfort is focused on helping colleges transform how they support, engage, and motivate students to completion. She was previously a director at Jobs for the Future, where she worked with colleges and districts to improve the educational outcomes of low-income students. Dr.  Salim is an expert in developing and implementing initiatives to increase student success.  He was most recently a senior public school district administrator in Boston, where he oversaw programs focused on improving college readiness and academic reforms for over 50,000 students.

Now in its fourth year, EBPC selected the 2013 finalists from a total of 250 applications from 17 countries. The competition stimulates cutting-edge ideas--whether local or global, profit or non-profit, or preschool through adult learning—that serve the world’s educational needs. The 10 finalists presented their projects—showcasing the best and most promising new ventures in the field—to a select judging panel of industry leaders on the Penn campus on May 8.

EBPC was launched in 2010 as a partnership between Penn GSE and the Milken Family Foundation, and marks the first-ever funded education business plan competition. For more information go to: http://nestcentral.org.