ST. PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 16, 2014) — College Possible announced an ambitious growth plan, including expanding services to Philadelphia, at a White House gathering on Jan. 16.
The summit, jointly-led by the First Lady’s office and officials from the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council and the Department of Education, addressed stark class disparities among college students and graduates. College Possible, an organization working across the country to coach low-income students to-and-through college, has served local students since 2001.
College Possible CEO and Founder Jim McCorkell is attended the summit.
“Educating Minnesota’s capable low-income students is not only the right thing to do; it is the only way to maintain a strong local workforce in a competitive global economy. The community has embraced our mission, directly contributing to the strong results that have led us to the doors of the White House,” explained College Possible Twin Cities Executive Director, Sara Dziuk.
In the Twin Cities, College Possible is poised to grow. The program has expanded to partner with 20 high schools, and an additional 20 high schools are on a waiting list eager to welcome College Possible.
College Possible’s expansion to Philadelphia was one of a list of commitments made by summit participants and released by the White House today. College Possible’s ambitious vision of serving 20,000 students in 10 cities annually by 2020 was also highlighted.
“We’re pleased to join this critical conversation. We’ve devoted the last 13 years to studying the problem of education inequality and we’ve found strong, cost-effective solutions,” said Dziuk.
President Obama described today’s summit as part of an effort to “make sure that this is a country where if you work hard you can make it.”
College Possible received attention in November when Harvard University released historic results from a study using randomized controls, considered to be the gold standard of evaluation. The findings show that College Possible’s approach to unlocking the potential of low-income students is effective and that students served are significantly more likely to enroll in a four year college.
Lead researcher, Dr. Chris Avery explains, “While there are many organizations working to promote college access for low-income students, to my knowledge, College Possible is the only program that has demonstrated its success in increasing applications and enrollment at four-year colleges in a randomized trial.”
Dr. Avery’s analysis estimates that the College Possible program increases enrollment in four-year colleges by 15 percentage points, and this result is statistically significant. Dr. Avery also attended this week’s summit.
College Possible’s approach is designed to connect students to the college that best matches their abilities at a fraction of the cost of other college success programs. Addressing “undermatching,” or the pervasive funneling of low-income students to colleges that do not challenge them, is a core focus of College Possible and of the White House’s new initiative. College Possible has served 10,000 students this year in the Twin Cities community.
“Avery’s study provides evidence that College Possible is effective in helping students make smart choices in where to enroll,” said Dr. William Bowen, President of Princeton University and of the Andrew Mellon Foundation and editor of College Access: Opportunity or Privilege?
“The surest path out of poverty is a four-year degree, and we help our students reach graduation in a cost-effective way by harnessing the power of national service. This makes our model efficient and we’re thrilled this approach, that has changed the lives of so many students in our community, will be available to new communities. When college is possible, anything is possible,” says Dziuk.
College Possible is a nationally-growing nonprofit organization making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.