With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, College Possible Texas will double its reach to 12,000 low-income students statewide by 2025
AUSTIN, Texas, July 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — College Possible Texas (formerly known as College Forward), the pioneering nonprofit that connects low-income high school and college students with near-peer coaches to help them navigate to and through college, today announced an ambitious new initiative to expand its services statewide. The expansion will double the number of students the organization helps to get into and graduate college throughout Texas from 6,000 to approximately 12,000 by 2025. With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Expanding College Access in Texas Initiative will grow its proven near-peer coaching model to high schools throughout Texas and expand the organization’s partnerships with colleges and government agencies statewide.
“This statewide expansion will make it possible to serve students in communities across Texas, including a focus on rural communities, helping them to navigate the complex and often daunting process of applying to and enrolling in college,” said Scott Del Rossi, Vice President of College and Career at College Possible. “This is about breaking down barriers to college access, success and career entry for more young people across Texas — building stronger communities while supporting the needs of our state’s fast-growing economy.”
While Texas ranks among the states with the strongest high school graduation rates, college enrollment and completion rates among students from low-income backgrounds have declined in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the number of high school graduates enrolled in higher education fell by 6% from 2020 to 2021, and the number of degrees and certificates awarded to economically disadvantaged students fell by 2.8% during the same time period.
To help close gaps in college access and completion, College Possible will expand to serve a broader population of Texas students through a newly-designed service model that provides high-quality, tech-enabled virtual coaching paired with in-person support services delivered through participating school districts. The organization trains and deploys AmeriCorps service members as college access and success mentors to help high school juniors and seniors from low-income backgrounds enroll in — and complete — college.
Building on College Possible’s long-running and successful Central Texas operation, the expansion will begin in the Greater Houston area and expand to other school districts across the state including a number of rural communities. The statewide expansion is made possible through a financial commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of its College Access and Success portfolio, which seeks to help more high-achieving, low-income students apply to and enroll in top-performing colleges. College Possible will seek additional philanthropic and public funds to support its work in Texas.
“To ensure more students can pursue higher education, we need to disrupt the barriers to college access and success that too often can make it out of reach for potential students,” said Nick Watson, who works on the College Access and Success portfolio at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The expansion of these vital services will make an enduring impact for students throughout Texas, building new infrastructure to help students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds achieve their college-going aspirations.”
College Possible has established partnerships with high schools, higher education institutions, and state and local agencies within Texas, currently serving approximately 6,000 students annually. Schools and agencies across the state — including the Texas Education Agency and the Houston Independent School District — use the organization’s Co-Pilot student information system, which empowers student support professionals with a 360-degree view of actionable student data to measure and improve student outcomes. Originally incubated within College Possible Texas, the platform provides a highly accurate tool for tracking student outcomes and progress and now supports more than 500,000 students across the nation.
The real impact of College Possible is measured in how it affects the lives of its students. Crystal Cuellar, a 2022 University of Houston graduate said, “College Possible guided me to be the first person in my family to attend college and graduate.” Dulce Espinoza, who graduated from St. Edwards’s University in 2019, is now giving back as a mentor. Espinoza noted, “My College Possible coaches were compassionate, knowledgeable, and patient. I enjoyed the relationships I created with my mentors and appreciated their support through the most troubling years. Reflecting on the support I received from College Possible Texas, I’ve become a mentor for other first-generation students.”
For more than two decades, College Possible has worked to help students from historically under-resourced communities overcome barriers to college admissions and degree completion through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Participating students are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years than their peers from similar backgrounds and also earn higher salaries and report higher levels of employment and job satisfaction.
Learn more by visiting www.collegepossible.org.
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 more than 80,000 students from under-represented communities get into and through college through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Its pioneering model matches students with a near-peer coach and an evidence-based curriculum designed to help students overcome the most common barriers to getting into college and completing their degree – all at no cost to students or their families. Nationwide, College Possible students are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years than their peers from similar backgrounds. Headquartered in Saint Paul, MN, College Possible operates regional sites in Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; and Seattle, WA; Austin, TX; and Catalyze partnerships in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. Learn more at CollegePossible.org.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.7 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.