College is the most definitive step one can take toward creating a successful future: workers with bachelor’s degrees can expect to earn $1 million more over their lives than those with only high school diplomas. Higher education can break the cycle of poverty, changing the generational trajectories of families and entire communities. Unfortunately, low-income and underrepresented students – especially those whose parents did not go to college – typically face the college process (admission, enrollment, graduation) without strong college role models, without guidance from well-informed adults, and without the holistic preparation they need to succeed.
Fewer than 1 in 10 low-income students will earn a BA by age 24, compared to nearly 8 in 10 students from the top income quartile. A critical barrier is that 92% of low-income youth cannot afford test preparation services while their higher income peers will spend thousands of dollars on test preparation to gain an edge in the college admissions process.
In New York City, the issue of equal access to higher education is compounded by the fact that The City University of New York (CUNY) increased its math SAT admission requirement 20 to 30 points for its top five schools, making four-year college graduation more out of reach for low-income students. Low-income students score an average of 356 points lower on the SAT and are ten times less likely to take test preparation courses than their higher-income peers , disadvantages that limit their college options. Low SAT scores, paired with the challenges that low-income students often face such as language barriers and competing personal demands, have decreased admission rates to the top CUNY colleges for many students. In addition, New York City public school students often do not have strong knowledge about the college admissions process and are deeply dependent on the quality of the advice and support they receive. New York City schools have a student-to-counselor ratio of nearly 400:1. As a result, counselors can only provide an average of 38 minutes per year of college admissions advice per high school student and are unable to offer the individual attention necessary to address the academic, logistical, and socio-emotional development needs required to pursue a college degree and succeed in a college environment.
CollegeSpring New York works to change these statistics by providing skills remediation through test preparation combined with near-peer mentoring so that students are academically, socially and emotionally ready to succeed in college.
Learn more about the impact of CollegeSpring New York’s programs: