uAspire Selects Eight High Impact Partners to Launch Training & Technical Assistance Program

By: Stephen Sullivan | Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Model Expands uAspire Impact through Frontline Practitioners Nationwide

February 25, 2014 / Boston, MAuAspire, a national nonprofit committed to ensuring that all young people have the financial information and resources they need to find an affordable path to—and through—a postsecondary education, is announcing the selection of eight High Impact Partnerships to serve as key components of its new Training & Technical Assistance program that will spread uAspire’s college affordability expertise and best practices to like-minded education organizations and existing college access and success providers across the country.

Following a competitive application process during which a pool of community-based nonprofits, school districts, and charter management organizations were considered, the following eight organizations were selected to comprise uAspire’s initial cohort of High Impact Partners:

  • Achievement First Public Charter Schools – A network of 25 public charter schools in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island
  • Alliance College Ready Public Schools – A nonprofit charter management organization operating 22 schools serving low-income youth in Los Angeles, CA
  • CollegeSpring – A nonprofit organization offering SAT preparation and college readiness services to low-income high school students in California
  • KIPP Foundation – A national network of 141 public charter schools serving students in underserved communities throughout 20 states and the District of Columbia
  • Mastery Charter Schools – A nonprofit charter school network currently operating 15 schools in Philadelphia, PA
  • NYU College Advising Corps – A chapter of the National College Advising Core, a nonprofit organization placing college advisers in underserved high schools throughout the United States
  • YES Prep Public Schools – A network of 13 public charter schools in Houston, TX
  • YouthBuild USA – A national nonprofit organization supporting 260+ programs to provide education, counseling, and career development to low-income youth ages 16-24

With each of these High Impact Partnerships, uAspire will integrate customized training with ongoing technical assistance that allows the organizations to layer college affordability support throughout their programs and develop the internal expertise and capacity to sustain it. By translating uAspire’s financial aid expertise into proven, tactical strategies that are high-touch, easily accessible, and data-driven, this new model will help uAspire’s High Impact Partners launch new affordability services and improve the practice of their frontline staff so that more students can achieve postsecondary success.

“uAspire’s High Impact Partner network is committed to tackling one of the toughest barriers to college success—affordability,” said Laura Keane, Vice President of Training and Partnerships at uAspire. “Together with our partners, we will launch innovative programs for over 10,000 students and families this year along with a cutting-edge training and support program for hundreds of frontline practitioners to improve college outcomes for low-income students across the country.”

These High Impact Partnerships are a key element of uAspire’s Training & Technical Assistance indirect impact model. While continuing to expand the reach of its direct service in high-need cities, uAspire is launching this national program to spread awareness of affordability issues, improve practice in financial aid advising, and drive impact on college persistence and completion rates for low-income students. By supplementing the skills of existing college access and success providers with college affordability expertise and best practices, uAspire will be able to scale its impact in a faster, more cost-efficient way than its current direct service program allows.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be able to share the skills and expertise we’ve honed over nearly three decades with a national audience of frontline practitioners,” said Erin Cox, President of uAspire. “Our new Training & Technical Assistance program will expand uAspire’s impact on the college access landscape to hundreds of additional communities and help to remove the financial barriers that keep too many talented students from aspiring to—and succeeding in—higher education.”

Financial support for the Training & Technical Assistance program comes from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Citi Foundation, and the MetLife Foundation. With a commitment of $1.378M over the next four years, the Dell family foundation has taken on a leadership role in seeding the long-term success of this ambitious national expansion of uAspire’s work.

“uAspire has a strong track record of producing successful outcomes for students through their college affordability advising,” said Todd Penner, Team Lead, College Preparation & Completion at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “Establishing a full-fledged T&TA program will spread its expertise nationwide and lead to the type of long-term, systemic change in education practices that aligns with the foundation’s goal of empowering more high-need students to enroll in college and obtain a bachelor’s degree.”

In addition to the High Impact Partnerships, the leadership funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of two other aspects of the T&TA model, focused on offering training on issues of college affordability to individual practitioners in schools and organizations nationwide. Through both existing and uAspire-organized events, uAspire will provide trainings on topics such as FAFSA completion, interpreting award letters, and reducing summer melt to individual providers looking to improve their practice on important college affordability issues.



About uAspire

uAspire’s mission is to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to—and through—a postsecondary education. To accomplish this mission, uAspire partners with schools and community organizations to provide financial aid advice and advocacy to young people and families to help them overcome the financial barriers to higher education. uAspire provides college affordability guidance and information to students in grades 7-16 in six communities nationwide (Boston, Lawrence, Springfield, and Fall River, Massachusetts; Miami, FL; and the Bay Area of California) as well as providing training, tools, and ongoing support to frontline practitioners at school districts, charter management organizations, and community-based organizations across the country. 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 college experience.



Stephen Sullivan
617.778.7195 x 103