Enrolling High-Achieving, Low- and Moderate-Income Students Into Top Colleges and Universities

In the United States, research shows over 50 percent of high-achieving, low-income students do not apply to any selective colleges or universities despite their qualifications, and only six percent of the students at top colleges and universities are low-income. These students have limited resources to navigate the complex college application process as schools serving predominately low-income high school students have, on average, 1,000 students for every college counselor. But when these students apply to top colleges and universities, they are accepted and graduate at the same rate as their wealthier peers.

Admittance to top tier colleges has a lifelong impact

Students who attend top tier schools have earnings roughly 25 percent higher than those who attend less selective colleges. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ college access and success initiative, CollegePoint, aims to directly help as many as 65,000 students apply to, enroll in and graduate from top institutions by providing support and guidance.

The initiative will:

  • Match trained advisors from College Advising Corps, College Possible and Strive for College with high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students, as identified primarily by the College Board, as well as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The advisors will use virtual interaction and communication tools, such as video conferencing and document sharing, to reach students across all 50 states.
  • Develop free, high-quality online content on the college and financial aid process by Khan Academy.
  • Support a task force at the Aspen Institute to convene leading college presidents and experts to develop actionable recommendations for how the 265 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates and strong financial aid policies can enroll and graduate substantially more high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students.
  • Produce research on the impact of these interventions to effect change in higher education policies and practices by Professor Ben Castleman of the University of Virginia and Professor Eric Bettinger of Stanford University and enable Bloomberg Philanthropies to share successful strategies with school systems, counselors, other nonprofit organizations and education leaders across the country.



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