CollegeSpring and College Track Form National Partnership to Increase College Attainment for First-Generation Students from Low-Income Communities

Oakland, CA–March 2, 2020–Two leading national nonprofits in the field of college access and completion today announced a partnership to provide hands-on SAT and ACT test preparation to more than 3,400 low-income students across California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area. CollegeSpring is making a two-year commitment to College Track to ensure more students of color from low-income communities have the opportunity to be competitive college applicants and reach their goal of earning a four-year college degree.

College Track brings a long view to solving the college completion gap, making a 10-year promise to students from ninth grade of high school through college graduation. CollegeSpring equips schools and their teachers with an SAT, ACT, and college knowledge curriculum to prepare students to succeed on the exam and enter college.

In a sector sometimes considered less nimble than its for-profit counterpart, the collaboration between CollegeSpring and College Track is notable for combining multiple organizations’ expertise to offer students the best support possible. CollegeSpring’s test prep curriculum is produced specifically for the needs of the student community it serves, and this partnership will ensure that College Track students receive the highest quality support to navigate this crucial step in the college application process.

“College Track’s comprehensive program is a natural fit for CollegeSpring’s more targeted intervention, and we’re excited to join forces to maximize our impact with students who are underrepresented in higher education,” said College Spring CEO Yoon S. Choi, Ph.D. “We hope this partnership can serve as a model for other nonprofits who want to work toward a common goal without duplicating their efforts.”

“Our organization was founded with the belief that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not” said College Track CEO Elissa Salas. “Too often, first-generation students from low-income communities don’t have the resources to be competitive college applicants. This collaboration with CollegeSpring will not only increase our students’ eligibility for college, but also reaffirm that a college application system based on merit, not privilege, is our best hope of changing this country’s equity and justice narrative.”

This partnership comes at a pivotal moment for both the SAT and ACT, where questions over the relevance and bias of standardized testing towards middle- and higher-income students has inspired a number of  colleges and universities to make the test optional for admission. However, for most students, particularly first-generation students from low-income communities competing against higher income peers, standardized tests remain integral to the college application and acceptance process for the majority of public institutions across the country. Applicants who submit test scores are more likely to be admitted than those who do not, and they receive more generous financial aid packages, even at test-optional schools.

“At the end of the day, we want students to reach their full academic potential. Partnering with other national nonprofits is about changing the larger educational landscape to ensure that all students have an opportunity to enroll in a college where they can thrive,” said Dr. Choi.

About CollegeSpring

CollegeSpring is a national non-profit organization that provides free SAT and ACT preparation to students who are historically underrepresented in higher education, including students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and those who would be the first in their families to attend college. Founded in the Bay Area in 2008, CollegeSpring has since helped over 30,000 students raise their test scores and gain confidence to attend college. By bringing test prep directly into the classroom, where all students are, CollegeSpring expands access to formal test prep, encouraging all students to consider college as a viable option for their futures.

About College Track

College Track is a comprehensive college completion program that equips students confronting systemic barriers to earn a bachelor’s degree, in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power. From ninth grade through college graduation, our 10-year program systematically removes the academic, financial, and social-emotional barriers that keep first-generation students from low-income communities from completing college and thriving in the workforce. Today, College Track serves more than 3,400 students across 12 communities in California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area, with 600+ alumni leading a movement to democratize potential.