Since 2006, the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia (CSF-DC) has worked to address the critically low college graduation rate (27%) of students from Washington, DC’s Wards 7 and 8. CSF-DC integrates a comprehensive system of academic, social, emotional, and financial services for its students, staying with them for up to 10 years and beyond. In this video from CSF-DC, a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative, hear the hopes and accomplishments of a few of its graduates.
The more than 1 in 5 college students who are parents face a unique set of challenges on their path to and through college. As a result, fewer than 2% of teen mothers nationally who have a child before age 18 go on to complete college before age 30. Generation Hope, a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative, provides mentoring, resources, and services to help D.C. area teen parents become college graduates and helps their children enter kindergarten at higher levels of school readiness. In the post, “How to Make the College Dream Possible,” Generation Hope shares opportunities for each of us to support this often overlooked group of college students.
Students who come from under-resourced communities or are the first generation in their family to go to college face a host of obstacles as they prepare for education and careers after high school. A new publication by Collegiate Directions, Inc., (CDI) explores the barriers these students often face in being accepted to, attending, and graduating from a college or university. CDI, a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative, provides wraparound services to more than 1,200 students annually ensuring they receive everything necessary to persist through and graduate from college, including emotional support, counseling, and emergency assistance. The publication shares the effects of limited resources and limited knowledge about the college process on academic readiness, financial aid, and overall opportunity for academic success.
With just 58% of students earning a college degree within six years, there are now more college dropouts than high school dropouts in the United States. These young adults are leaving college campuses with debt, but without a degree. For students from under-resourced families who are also the first in their family to go to college the numbers are more stark—just 11% are earning a college degree.
A recent Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers learning session explored the challenges that many students in our region face in the journey to and through college, the key supports and services that help students thrive in college, what quality looks like in such programs, and how philanthropy can effectively engage to ensure everyone has the opportunity for postsecondary success.
Elizabeth Morgan of the National College Access Network (NCAN) kicked off the conversation sharing national statistics and the limits of information available regionally around college access and competition.
Crimsonbridge Foundation Executive Director Danielle Reyes then moderated a panel discussion with nonprofit leaders Amma Felix, President of Collegiate Directions, Julie Green, Executive Director of New Futures, and Nicole Lynn Lewis, CEO of Generation Hope. All three of these organizations are members of the College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. This initiative serves as a partnership between Crimsonbridge, the Scheidel Foundation, and six nonprofits to share ideas, learn from successes and mistakes, and partner to solve issues. The nonprofit partners in the C3 Initiative, including the three represented in the panel, act to support and eliminate barriers facing first-generation and under-resourced students. Collegiate Directions supports students financially, academically, and culturally throughout high school and into post-grad life. New Futures focuses on aiding under-served students through certifications and community colleges with scholarships, academic advising, and career coaching. Generation Hope, provides mentoring, resources, and services to help teen parents become college graduates and their children enter kindergarten at higher levels of school readiness.
The conversation focused on topics such as capacity building opportunities within the organizations, the importance and role of current and prospective partnerships, and barriers facing students. The panelists shared how each of their organizations would benefit from strengthened partnerships with colleges and universities and involvement from state-level representatives. Nicole emphasized the significance of having available completion funds, or flexible money, for students who need emergency financial assistance in order to continue with their college education. And finally, all three of the panelists agreed that communications work is key in changing the narrative so that the students are viewed as young adults with a right to a college education and the resources necessary to complete their college education.
Overall, the conversation imparted the message that financial investments do not support these students alone, but that the personal support of mentors, partners, colleges and universities, funders, and policy-makers are all instrumental in determining the future of a young adult striving to complete their education.
New Futures helps under-resourced young people in the Greater Washington region forge their own path to college success—one that prioritizes community college and shorter-term postsecondary credentials as the first best step to launching a rewarding career quickly and affordably. For nearly 200 program participants each year, New Futures provides financial scholarships, academic advising, skills-building workshops, and career coaching, all with a focus on careers in high-growth fields. In a new infographic, New Futures, a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative, shares what sets their program apart and the impact it is having on the young people they serve.
In this video celebrating the 25th anniversary of Capital Partners for Education (CPE), hear how mentoring through CPE has helped to unlock the potential inside more than 700 local students. CPE is a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative and provides one-to-one mentoring and college and career success programming to students from under-resourced families in the Washington, DC area.
The Crimsonbridge Foundation has awarded $110,000 in grants to six organizations in the Greater Washington Region that help first-generation students and others of underrepresented backgrounds navigate and complete their journeys in higher education.
Since 2015, Crimsonbridge has invested $260,000 in programs and research to advance college completion for students who are the first in their family to attend college or of diverse or under-resourced backgrounds. Driven by a shared goal of increasing college success rates, Crimsonbridge partnered with the Scheidel Foundation in 2017 to launch the College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. In addition to the foundations, C3 partners include six exemplary nonprofits that shepherd students to and through college graduation: Capital Partners for Education, Collegiate Directions, College Success Foundation – District of Columbia, CollegeTracks, Generation Hope, and New Futures.
In this second year of partnership, Crimsonbridge grants are tailored to meet the unique needs of each C3 nonprofit. Grants will support the expansion of college completion programming, as well as the creation and build-out of career readiness services for students in college.
“Investing in college success is a priority for the foundation and for our country,” said Crimsonbridge Foundation President and Founder Gabriela Smith. “We are excited to continue learning and collaborating with our partners in the C3 Initiative to advance college success regionally.”
C3 participants gather three times per year to reflect on challenges, share best practices, and embrace opportunities for collaboration. Through program feedback, participants have shared that it is “beneficial to connect with other organizations with similar missions” and state that sessions have “opened up my eyes to the challenges everyone is having, so I don’t feel alone.” The next meeting, launching year two of the C3 cohort, will be held in July 2019.
In this new video, meet CollegeTracks, which serves more than 1,600 Montgomery County students and is a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. The video features College Access Director Lindsey Barclay (an incoming Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund recipient in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership) who speaks to the value of coaching in college success.