CollegePoint helps low and moderate-income students apply to, enroll in, and graduate from top-performing colleges–having served over 45,000 students to date. America Achieves partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies starting in 2013 to conceive of the strategy for college advising and scholarships and develop the partnerships to implement the program. A coalition of funders has provided $42 million over 5 years to support key program partners. CollegePoint has moved out of America Achieves to become a program inside Bloomberg Philanthropies. One CollegePoint partner – the non-profit 501(c)(3) Matriculate – was launched at America Achieves and leverages peer-to-peer interactions and social networks to support low-income students in the college application and financial aid process.
CollegePoint is a nationwide effort to address a solvable challenge: every 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.
We will develop and publish an article on lessons learned from this work, including implications for virtual advising in the COVID-19 era as well as for public policy.