Each year, tens of thousands of hardworking, high-achieving students from low- and moderate-income families fail to apply to top-performing colleges and universities that they are qualified to attend. When these high-achievers do apply to institutions with the highest graduation rates and manageable debt loads, they are accepted, enroll, and graduate at the same rates as their wealthier peers. But, over 50% of these students don’t apply to a single top school. Instead, they end up at open-access, two- or four-year colleges well below their abilities—and leave with more debt, lower graduation rates, and dramatically reduced career and leadership opportunities.
In response to this challenge, America Achieves’ College Access and Success team is dedicated to increasing the number of high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students enrolling in top-performing colleges from 1/3 of 70,000 students today to more than 1/2 by 2020.
How We Are Taking Action
We lead Bloomberg Philanthropies’ CollegePoint initiative, a new coalition of non-profit organizations and philanthropic institutions with the goal of enrolling many more high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students enrolling in top-performing colleges and universities nationwide. Our partners include the ACT, the Aspen Institute, College Advising Corps, the College Board, College Possible, and Khan Academy, Matriculate, Strive for College, among others. Through this coalition, we provide free college and financial aid advising, leveraging technology to eligible high school students across the country.
In addition, we’ve convened a task force of leaders in higher education to make concrete, actionable recommendations and build commitments from leading colleges and universities to admit, support, and graduate many more of these well-qualified, lower-income students once they do apply.