School counselors often lack the training and capacity to provide the college affordability planning and financial aid coaching students need. uAspire is the strongest program providing students with access to accurate financial aid information and guidance, which is one of the greatest barriers underserved youth face when trying to access a properly matched college.

We supported a pilot of the first replication of uAspire’s Virtual+Training (V+T) model in New York City. Through the V+T model, uAspire partners with other community-based organizations on a joint delivery model to provide direct guidance to students through timely, personalized text message-based coaching, and to train student-serving staff on the college affordability process. We also supported uAspire’s development of its Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) program in New York and forged training partnerships that address practitioner knowledge gaps and strengthen college affordability culture and practices with a goal of increasing financial aid form completion, student matriculation, and college persistence.

Building on the work we supported with Ed Trust-NY to develop a data visualization tool that shows the percentage of seniors with a completed FAFSA in each public high school and school district in New York State, uAspire, with our support, is partnering with Ed Trust-NY to create a “FAFSA Completion Playbook” for high schools: a turnkey toolkit that provides month-by-month research-based tactics (including activities, resources, and communications) for schools to implement.

Heckscher’s support has enabled us to launch our innovative, text-based college affordability advising in New York City, and we are now helping thousands of students reach their goal of earning a college degree with limited financial burden. This would not have been possible without the financial support and strategic guidance of the Heckscher team. They are a true partner in this work.
Bob Giannino