Student Advising

Student Advising

By providing students with one-on-one support and resources to navigate the complex financial aid process, we work to ensure that they can find an affordable path to and through college. uAspire has College Affordability Advisors working in California, Massachusetts, and New York City. 

For Students

Afford Program

High school students are supported throughout the school year and the summer after graduation to find an affordable postsecondary option and successfully enroll. Advisors supplement high school counselors who depend on uAspire to help with the financial issues related to college.


Students meet with their advisor in their high school or use texting to find a way to afford college:

  • Identify affordable college options
  • Complete financial aid applications including FAFSA, CSS Profile, CA  & NY Dream Act
  • Identify scholarship opportunities
  • Review financial aid award letters


Via text, students receive personalized guidance on how to complete the tasks necessary to successfully enroll in college in the fall:

  • Finalize enrollment decision
  • Manage loans
  • Access on-campus resources
  • Pay first semester tuition bill

We aim to ensure that students take the necessary steps to find an affordable path to college.

  • Attend a planning session. Student learns about the financial aid process and different types of aid. Advisor learns about student’s family financial situation and college goals to map out next steps.
  • Identify a financial safety school to include on student’s college list.
  • Complete financial aid applications. Advisor helps student complete the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application and institution-specific forms, identify scholarship opportunities, and navigate the verification process if needed.
  • Review financial aid award letters. Advisor helps student better understand financial aid packages and loan options to compare the full costs associated with each college and financing plan. Student learns which colleges to consider affordable and how to advocate for additional aid.
  • Engage in summer texting and tasks. Advisor assists student with his college’s requirements and deadlines related to enrolling, like signing for student loans, registering for orientation, and paying the first term bill.

Succeed Program

Right on their phones, college students receive personalized support to continue to access financial aid, make financially responsible decisions, and overcome financial barriers to persist and ultimately complete their degree with a manageable amount of debt.


Students are supported through text advising to help them persist through their first years of college while gaining the knowledge and skills to help them afford to finish:

  • Renew FAFSA
  • Confirm Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Have plan to cover indirect expenses
  • Know current and overall debt amounts

We aim to ensure that students take the necessary steps to follow an affordable path through college. Through strategically-timed text messages, advisors assist students with a range of tasks.

  • Pay college billAdvisor helps student understand and develop a plan to pay her college bills, then makes sure student has paid them.
  • Renew FAFSA/Dream Act. Advisor helps student complete the paperwork needed to receive an award letter for the following school year, and submit any documents requested for verification.
  • Understand satisfactory academic progress. Student learns whether her grade point average will affect her financial aid eligibility in the future.
  • Know amount borrowed. Student confirms her loan amounts and credit progress toward degree. Advisor uses this information to help student approximate her total loan debt and monthly payments after graduation.

Virtual Advising

All of our advising programs use texting because it’s efficient and effective, providing students with substantial, individualized assistance when they need it, from someone they trust. Here’s how we do it:

Partner Locally

Because our direct service is deeply rooted within our local communities, students know that we’re invested in them and knowledgeable about their given local context.

Emphasize Personalization

Our program and caseloads prioritize advisors’ ability to build relationships with their students and preserve the nuanced, empathetic nature of counseling.

Build Trust

We lay the groundwork so students view their uAspire advisor as a trustworthy, expert source of information on college affordability who cares about them and will help them.

Invest in Data

By accessing student-level data, we customize messages to a student’s personal situation and avoid losing their attention with irrelevant messages.

Offer Comprehensive Help

Advisors help students with whatever questions and problems they find most pressing, pivoting between texting and use of video conferencing, email, phone, and in-person meetings.

Advisors check in with students via text message to help guide them along critical college affordability milestones. Texts are aligned with where the student is on the financial aid timeline. For example:

“Hi Kevin! Have you had a chance to submit your FAFSA? YES/ NOT YET.”

When Kevin responds, his designated advisor will answer his questions, recommend next steps, and interpret his needs in that moment, which can be anything from encouragement, support, or coaching, to simply clarifying a term.

Students count on their advisors as a primary source of information and individualized support on a wide range of tasks and decisions. For instance, together over text, advisors and students navigate college websites to review financial aid award letters; advisors coach students through calling colleges to ask specific questions about their tuition bill. Along the way, students not only leverage financial aid and minimize debt, they are empowered with the skills and knowledge to do it themselves.

Meet the College Affordability Advisors

A unique combination of advocate, educator, and coach, College Affordability Advisors offer hope and encouragement as they support students to navigate systems that, despite a mission to the contrary, often hinder their success.

Our advisors are all-in, driven by passion and commitment to work beyond the call of duty. Their expertise with college affordability is matched by their ability to connect with students and build trust, whether face-to-face or miles apart over text-message.

Their day-to-day, on-the-ground experience with thousands of students each year across the country informs and advances our training and policy work. Simply put, College Affordability Advisors are the heart of uAspire—the core of what we do—and they transform the lives of the students they advise.

Meet Our Team

Megan Lehr

Megan Lehr

DESE Project Based Affordability Advisor

Arley Rodas Lara

Arley Rodas Lara

College Affordability Advisor

Moses Z Henriquez

Moses Z Henriquez

College Affordability Advisor

Dayomi Denoly

Dayomi Denoly

College Affordability Advisor

Lynna Lei

Lynna Lei

College Affordability Advisor

Kendra Pimentel

Kendra Pimentel

College Affordability Advisor

View all advisors



Meet Richard

"I strive to be a steady presence for my students—pushing them when they need to be pushed, encouraging them when they need encouragement."
Ten years ago, I was a confused senior at Charlestown High School. Today, I am a proud college graduate and uAspire College Affordability Advisor. Every day, I work with low-income students across Massachusetts to make their dreams of college a reality, just like my uAspire advisor, Chris, did for me ten years ago. keep reading

Program Partners

Collaboration is at the core of uAspire's work. We achieve greater impact by partnering with institutions and other nonprofits that allow us to:

  • strengthen or expand our program quality and performance
  • provide an integrated continuum of services to meet students' needs 
  • enter new geographies and reach new students
  • address complex challenges facing first-generation college students and young people from low-income backgrounds

We’re honored to work alongside our extraordinary partners. Together, we're removing the financial barriers that keep too many of our nation’s young people from graduating college and reaching their potential.

uAspire Massachusetts is proud to be one of five partner organizations in State Street's Boston Workforce Investment Network (Boston WINs) supporting Boston youth in their transition from high school into the workforce. Being a WINS member has given us the opportunity to work more with our partners toward the goal of improving student outcomes.

In 2018-19, we launched our student advising and counselor training in New York City. Our lead partner in New York is CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), a college guidance program of Student Leadership Network impacting more than 18,000 students in 32 schools across the city. In our first year working together, uAspire will text advise 2,500 CBI students in their first year of college, while training CBI's counselors on college affordability and the financial aid process.

Since 2008, uAspire has partnered with Success Boston, an innovative citywide college completion initiative that engages with Boston Public Schools (BPS), the City of Boston, 37 higher education institutions, and local nonprofits seeking to double the college completion rate for students from BPS. As the initiative's college affordability partner, we provide our Succeed text advising to students and college affordability training to Success Boston coaches.