Venture Philanthropy / Strategic Partnerships
In 2017, the foundation continued its collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies to design and launch a virtual college advising program, CollegePoint, which promotes college access and completion for high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students. It provides support and guidance on the college application and financial aid process to directly help as many as 75,000 students apply to, enroll in, and graduate from top schools. To be eligible for CollegePoint, students must have standardized test scores in the 90th percentile or higher, a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and family income of $80,000 or less.
In partnership with the Aspen Institute and ITHAKA S+R, the initiative also engages college and university presidents and leading experts to spur changes in higher education policies and practices and enable more students to enroll and graduate. The overarching goal is to increase the percentage of high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students who enroll in the nation’s top 270 plus colleges and universities from the current 33% to 50%, prioritizing schools with high graduation rates and low student debt.
The initiative is intended to achieve broad impact through collaboration. Leading program partners include College Advising Corps, College Possible, ScholarMatch, and Matriculate (each of which will contribute to a squad of well-trained college access advisors)as well as the College Board, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, New Profit Inc., America Achieves, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Khan Academy, and the Aspen Institute. The virtual college advising partners have recruited, selected, and trained more than 30 full-time advisors and 400 college students as part-time advisors. These advisors served 8,300 students in the Class of 2016, and are on track to serve more than 12,150 in the Class of 2017.
Two leading professors in the college success field, Dr. Ben Castleman (University of Virginia) and Dr. Eric Bettinger (Stanford University), are researching the impact of interventions to measure “virtual advising outcomes” and enable sharing of successful strategies among school systems, counselors, other nonprofit organizations, and education leaders across the country.