uAspire helps promising students make college an affordable reality. We impact the lives of students.
uAspire is committed to reaching the day when all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or postsecondary experience. Eliminating financial barriers to higher education will lead to higher rates of enrollment and graduation, helping more students fulfill the economic promise of an affordable college degree that will break the cycle of poverty in this and subsequent generations.
What does that impact mean for each student? We see the impact when a student begins her journey to apply for college, but quickly faces a gap in how to pay for it. Through a conversation with a uAspire Advisor, she considers more affordable schools that still provide a quality education. During FAFSA season, she and her Advisor are on the phone with a parent, getting necessary tax information to complete the form and secure Pell grants and other aid. Before graduation, her Advisor is on the phone with her college, negotiating more aid. And by next fall, she has the financial plan she needs for college and focuses on classes, instead of how she’ll pay her next tuition bill.
Over the long term, we gauge our impact by our ability to increase college enrollment, persistence, and completion of a postsecondary degree. Working primarily with low-income, first-generation college students, uAspire has achieved impressive results toward these goals. Across our national network, 65% of uAspire’s advisees enroll at a postsecondary institution during the fall immediately after high school graduation, compared to a national average of just 53% of low-income students enrolling within 18 months. uAspire students have also demonstrated higher persistence rates once they enroll in college: 79% of uAspire advisees re-enroll for a second year of college (compared to a 69% national average across all income levels) and 70% re-enroll for a third. Furthermore, we have seen that an increase in involvement with uAspire correlates to even better performance. Among students who as 12th graders completed all three of uAspire’s core advising activities, those persistence rates are 89% and 83%, respectively.
uAspire has expanded the reach of our direct service beyond Boston and now have full-time College Affordability Advisors working in five additional cities in Massachusetts—Cambridge, Fall River, Lawrence, Somerville, and Springfield—as well as in three cities in the San Francisco Bay Area—San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward, CA. During the 2014-15 school year, uAspire provided direct service to over 11,000 students across these geographies.
In the spring of 2015, we established an innovative new Virtual Advising Center that is currently delivering remote advising via text and other virtual technologies to over 31,000 students across 15 states.
Through our Training & Technical Assistance partnerships, uAspire’s expertise is delivered to more than 100,000 students annually across the country.