The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling $23 million in support of efforts to ensure that students of color and those from low-income families have access to the resources they need to start and stay on a path to a college degree.
Many qualified African-American, Latinx, and low-income students don’t go to college because they don’t receive the counseling and advise needed to understand their options, create a strong application, and navigate financial aid systems — problems that have been exacerbated by COVID-related school closures. To help address the gap, the foundation will expand its partnerships with three organizations that work with the AmeriCorps national service program — College Advising Corps (CAC), City Year, and Saga Education.
The additional funding already has enabled CAC, which places college graduates in high schools to serve as full-time college advisors, to provide virtual advising for a hundred and seventy thousand students who were partway through the college and financial aid application process when their schools went online. City Year places “student success coaches” in high schools who serve as role models, help students make decisions that keep them on track for college, watch for early warning signs of students who may be falling behind, and step in with one-on-one or small-group interventions. And the grant to Saga Education will fund twenty-eight math tutors in six New York City high schools who will and work with two thousand ninth-graders over the next two years.
“Unfortunately, 30 percent of white students and 35 to 40 percent of Black and Latinx students don’t enroll in college within two years of finishing high school — and these numbers are poised to skyrocket with the impact of COVID-19,” wrote Bill Gates in a blog post. “All young people should get the advising, tutoring, and coaching they need to get on the college pathway that’s right for them. And because of COVID-19, this work is especially urgent for the next few classes of graduating seniors.”