uAspire imagines a day when all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or college experiences. Removing financial barriers to higher education leads to higher enrollment and graduation rates, helping more students fulfill the economic promise of an affordable college degree that will break the cycle of poverty in this and subsequent generations.Organization Summary
uAspire is committed to ensuring that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to achieve their dreams of higher education. uAspire provides free college affordability advising and advocacy to students and families as well as best-in-class training and technical assistance for other practitioners. Through strategic partnerships with high schools, community organizations higher education institutions, and individual practitioners, uAspire helps academically prepared students find an affordable path to – and through – a postsecondary education.
uAspire was founded in 1985 in Boston. After three decades of establishing a proven track record, uAspire is working to achieve direct and systemic impact in communities of need nationwide that will enable the organization to positively impact the lives of 1,000,000 students by 2017. This plan includes three models for impact:
- Impact in High-Need Cities – uAspire currently has full-time College Affordability Advisors in six cities in Massachusetts — Boston, Cambridge, Fall River, Lawrence, Somerville, and Springfield—as well as in three cities in the San Francisco Bay Area—San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward, CA. Last year, uAspire provided direct service to over 11,000 students across these geographies. We have also established an innovative new Virtual Advising Center that is delivering remote advising via text and other virtual technologies to over 31,000 students across 15 states.
- Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) – uAspire has built out a multi-pronged Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) model that provides best-in-class instruction, resources, and ongoing support on issues of college affordability to frontline college access and success providers in partner school districts, community organizations, and higher education institutions across the country. By leveraging this national network of existing practitioners—already well positioned to deliver advising services to students—uAspire is able to spread its expertise and best practices more quickly and efficiently to regions where we do not currently provide direct service. Last year, we reached more than 120,000 students across 26 states through our T&TA partners.
- Policy/Systems Change – uAspire uses impact data, scalable best practices, and a network of knowledgeable practitioners to influence policies and practices within city, state, federal and higher education circles. uAspire is currently engaging in policy efforts at federal and state levels when appropriate while working out the details of our multi-year policy impact strategy.