There's More Work to be Done
There's More Work to be DoneNicholas Watson, Bloomberg Philanthropies
On November 6, 2019 at The College Board’s annual forum, we at Bloomberg Philanthropies shared our work and progress on our College Access and Success programs, CollegePoint and the American Talent Initiative. During the session, we discussed the problem of under-matching for high-achieving, lower-income students and how we are working to address this issue.
Each year tens of thousands of qualified low-income students do not apply nor attend some of our nation’s top colleges and universities with highest graduation rates.
On the surface this seems to be an easy fix. “It’s just about finding these students and then the pipelines will open up” is a common refrain, from those in and out of higher education.
So every year, top colleges and universities send hundreds of admission counselors out on the road to do exactly that: “find these students”. And every year, thousands of qualified low-income students end up at schools that do not match their academic talents. While finding these students is part of the equation, there is more work to be done to get these same students to apply and ultimately attend and graduate from top colleges and universities. Joint efforts backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, CollegePoint and The American Talent Initiative, seek to be a part of the answer.
CollegePoint seeks to find these students, some of whom do not come from college-going cultures, and pair them with trained college advisors who can build a trusting relationship of guidance and support, from building a college list through college matriculation decisions. The goal of CollegePoint is to increase the number of low and moderate-income students who attend top colleges across the country and, so far, there are signs it is working. Students who received CollegePoint advising applied to 35% more high-graduation rate schools than their peers, and those same students were also admitted to 3% more high-graduation rate schools than their peers.
However, there is still much more work to be done. While many CollegePoint students are being accepted into top colleges, there are still many who are not attending. Overwhelmingly, they cite financial reasons as the main challenge to matriculation. The American Talent Initiative (ATI), a collaborative of some of the nation's top colleges and universities, is working to address this.
ATI seeks to attract, enroll, and graduate an additional 50,000 lower-income students from member institutions by 2025. In having a shared goal, these member institutions can amplify the call to action and hold each other accountable as they strive towards this goal.
CollegePoint and The American Talent Initiative understand that it takes more than just “finding” these students to ensure that they can enroll and graduate from our nation's top colleges and universities. It will take everything from building trusting relationships early in high school, to working to build partnerships and collaboration across higher education to ensure that these talented students have all the opportunities available to them.