Providing students with the support and guidance they need to thrive on their journey to and through college.

In a global and increasingly automated economy, college completion is an urgent priority for the future competitiveness of our country. By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require some form of post-secondary education. One-third of all college students are first-generation, yet only 27% earn degrees within four years. Similarly, only 26% of students with financial need graduate college on time, compared to 76% of their more affluent peers. Our partner organizations are eradicating these statistics: the majority of students they serve achieve a college degree regardless of their circumstances.

College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative

Several organizations in the Greater Washington region are wholly dedicated to getting students to and through college. To support and advance this work, the Crimsonbridge Foundation partnered with the Scheidel Foundation in 2017 to launch the College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative with a shared goal of increasing college success rates for students from the Greater Washington region.

The C3 Initiative brings together the foundations and six nonprofits advancing college completion for nearly 4,000 students in the Greater Washington region who are the first in their family to attend college or are from under-resourced families. The eight organizations gather three times per year to discuss challenges, share best practices, and embrace opportunities for collaboration. While each organization takes a unique approach to its work, all are dedicated to shepherding students on their entire journey to and through higher education.

To date, C3 members have collaborated on initiatives that address student support, operation practices, and professional development.

In addition to Crimsonbridge and the Scheidel Foundation, participants include:

University-based Programs for First Generation College Success

 The Georgetown Scholars Program at Georgetown University

 Since 2015, we have partnered with the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP) at Georgetown University to support those who are the first in their family to attend college or are from under-resourced families. GSP provides comprehensive programming for more than 600 undergraduate students annually and boasts a 96% graduation rate. Our partnership has included advisory board engagement, technical assistance, and support to enhance communications and technology to advance first-generation student success.

The Take Flight Program at Catholic University

In 2019, Crimsonbridge partnered with the Catholic University of America to launch Take Flight, their first program designed specifically to serve first-generation students. Take Flight offers a pre-orientation to introduce students to services and resources available on campus, a series of First Friday workshops to help refine skills needed for academic success and personal flourishing, and a peer mentorship program.  Take Flight is led by Javier Bustamante, director of the Center for Cultural Engagement and a Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund leader.

Advancing College Completion for Latino Students

More Hispanics are enrolling in college than ever before, yet only 22% of Latino adults have earned an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 39% of all adults. In an effort to improve college outcomes for Latinos, the Crimsonbridge Foundation supports MDRC through the Latino Academic Transfer and Institutional Degree Opportunities (LATIDO) project.

The goal of the LATIDO project is to identify how higher education institutions can best serve Latino students. In April 2018, MDRC released a policy brief that reflects insights from a roundtable of researchers, policymakers, and college faculty members and administrators. Read the report: “Supporting Latino College Achievement: Insights from the LATIDO Roundtable.”

In addition, the LATIDO project conducted five in-depth case study visits at Hispanic-Serving Institutions in California. Read the report: “Continuamos Juntos — Moving Forward Together: Lessons on Advancing Latino Success from California’s LATIDO Project.”

The findings of the LATIDO project are applicable to local and national institutions seeking to improve post-secondary outcomes for Latino students.

Reference sources:
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, “Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2010”
Center for First-Generation Student Success, “First-generation Student Success: A Landscape Analysis of Programs and Services at Four-year Institutions”
The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, “2017 Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States”
Excelencia in Education, “Lation College Completion: United States”