uAspire (formerly known as ACCESS) has 27 years of experience that shows that by providing financial information and guidance we are able to remove the financial barriers to higher education that keep too many talented students from aspiring to – and succeeding in – higher education. In the past ten years, as many as two million young people across the nation did not attended college because they believed they could not afford it. Even more alarming, in the last two years, the default rate on student loans among those who did attend college has increased more than 25%. To address this growing need for college affordability guidance and support, uAspire has launched a three-pronged National Growth with Quality plan that will achieve direct and systemic impact in communities of need nationwide.
The key components of the plan are:
Impact in High-Need Cities – Since 2009, uAspire has expanded our one-to-one college affordability advising program to three new cities – Springfield, MA; Lawrence, MA; and Miami, FL. In doing so, we’ve increased the students we serve annually from 4,500 (in 2009) to more than 10,000 in just the past four years. uAspire has plans to add another 2-4 direct service sites in strategic communities of need in the next five years, thereby growing the number of students directly served by uAspire to 25,000 annually.
Training & Technical Assistance – Our impact on the college access landscape has the potential to expand far beyond those cities in which uAspire has a presence. uAspire has 27 years of experience providing high quality college affordability information and guidance to low-income young people, and we want to share it. Through our new Training and Technical Assistance Program, we have begun to work with school districts, charter management organizations, and youth-serving organizations across the country to provide their frontline staff with the knowledge and tools to ensure that their students are able to find an affordable path through college.
Policy – Much is being said and done about issues of college affordability at the school district, state, and federal levels. These conversations and policies will undoubtedly impact students and their postsecondary dreams, yet the student and family perspective is often missing from the decision-making process. As a student-centered organization, uAspire is committed to amplifying our voice and presence – locally and nationally – on issues of college affordability such that people and institutions of influence have the information and perspective they need to enact positive, lasting change.