College PossibleTM coaches thousands of low-income students all the way from college prep in high school through college graduation. We've funded their programs for years and they've consistently ranked among our top performers based on student outcomes. In 2015, we awarded a three-year, $2.2 million grant to help them continue expanding their services for students in Milwaukee and across Minnesota.

ISSUE

Getting students into college isn't enough. The challenges students from low-income households face in successfully navigating the academic, financial and social aspects of progressing through college also tend to become barriers to degree completion.

Sadly it's no surprise then that only 12% of students in the bottom quartile for family income graduate from a four-year college by age 24.

SOLUTION

Year after year, College Possible helps a growing number of students attain higher scores on the ACT, get into college and ultimately earn a degree.

Their big idea: apply the AmeriCorps model to college success. Committed young adults give a year to work in their Service Corps, low-income students gain a mentor and coach, and our communities benefit from having more college graduates.

Like Great Lakes, College Possible values setting goals and tracking data so it can continually evaluate, test and improve services to students. Their success coaching students into college and on to graduation has been deemed effective in a randomized controlled trial and other rigorous evaluations by Harvard, ICF International and others.

Based on that compelling data, we made grants to the Minnesota and Milwaukee College Possible programs to help them expand and refine their high school and college services over three years. Funds support the expansion of after-school programming and ACT test prep for over 1,300 low-income juniors at 36 high schools in Minnesota and Milwaukee. Additionally, 2,500 college students are receiving new and expanded services promoting study skills, class registration, FAFSA renewal and financial literacy.

Both College Possible organizations chose to increase their focus on voice-to-voice interaction in 2017, and they report success with the new approach. The previous model was technology-based, with coaches "pushing" modules out at certain times of the year. Now, with more personalized support, coaches can form connections with students sooner and deliver the coaching each student needs in real time.

An initial two-year planning period allowed for professional development and technology support, both of which enhanced the skills of development staff. Both organizations now have increased financial support and achieved the goal of reducing their reliance on Great Lakes funding.

QUESTIONS

Contact Program Manager Supervisor Nikki Wachter at nwachter@glhec.org or (888) 889-3299.