Austin-based College Forward now part of College Possible
As part of its continued commitment to deepen its impact and scale meaningful college access and success outcomes for youth nationwide, College Possible announced this week that College Forward is now part of the College Possible organization, effective July 1, 2021. The merger of the organizations builds on a more than 20-year collaborative partnership working to close the college degree divide.
“As communities nationwide pursue an equitable post-pandemic recovery, the role of proven, scalable college access and success programs has never been more important to youth living in historically disinvested communities,” said Craig Robinson, CEO of College Possible. “By combining resources with College Forward, we will cost-effectively reinforce our foundational programming, expand our national reach, and enhance our capacity to support more talented youth to overcome systemic barriers to achieve their dream of a college degree.”
More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging research has shed light on the challenges facing a generation of students who aspire to attend college but are often held back due to systemic and institutional barriers. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, college enrollment for high school graduates from low-income communities plunged by 29 percent in Fall 2020—and as of late May, only 50.7 percent of this year’s high school graduating class had completed their FAFSA application to receive federal financial aid, a 5.3 percent decrease compared to the previous admissions cycle. Together, College Possible and College Forward will continue to work to address these disparities through their proven, near-peer coaching model and proactive, high touch student interventions.
“With the addition of College Forward, we have the opportunity to build upon our existing programming — expanding innovative virtual student engagement with CoFo Connect, driving data-driven interventions with real-time student data via CoPilot, scaling college success programming via Catalyze, and extending our reach to rural communities via our Navigate program, just to name a few,” said Robinson.
As a key part of this integration, Austin Buchan will be transitioning from CEO of College Forward to a new role as the senior vice president of program and tech innovation at College Possible. “Together, we have the opportunity to create an even more accessible, on-demand and inclusive service model for students, while also producing new pathways to serve significantly more students in the future,” said Buchan.
Following the transaction, College Forward will be the eighth College Possible site, joining Chicago, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Omaha, Oregon, Philadelphia and Washington State. College Forward will retain its name and unique branding through at least June 2022, as both organizations carefully and thoughtfully support this integration.
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About College Possible:
As one of the largest and most successful college access and success programs in the country, since 2000 College Possible has helped put more than 50,000 students from disinvested communities on the path to economic mobility via completion of a college degree. It’s proven near-peer coaching model, delivered by recent college grad AmeriCorps members, provides high-touch interventions proven to help students navigate and overcome the most common barriers to college access, retention and degree completion. Nationwide, College Possible students are three times more likely to earn a college degree than their peers from similar backgrounds and achieve a 98 percent employment rate upon graduation.
Headquartered in Saint Paul, MN, College Possible operates regional sites in Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; and Seattle, WA with Austin, TX joining July 1, 2021; and has Catalyze partnerships in California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. For more information, visit CollegePossible.org.
About College Forward:
College Forward is a college success organization that specializes in coaching low-income and first-generation students to and through college. Through strategic partnerships, innovative technology, and students-first policy initiatives, College Forward aims to reshape the higher education experience for underserved students across the nation. Since its founding in 2003, College Forward has grown from a cohort of 30 high school students to an organization serving over 6,000 high school and college students today. Learn more at collegeforward.org.