To increase the college enrollment rate of low-income students.
About the Organization:
A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Divinity School, J.B. Schramm founded College Summit while directing a teen center in a low-income housing project in Washington, D.C. For his efforts, he received one of the first U.S. Ashoka fellowships for social entrepreneurs. Schramm had seen colleges pass over low-income kids with average grades and test scores because they weren't equipped to identify students with potential beyond what the numbers revealed, and he believed the parents of low-income kids, most of whom had not attended college, had difficulty guiding their children through the application process in the way that middle- and upper-income parents were able to do. College Summit was created to help close this gap. Since its inception, it has facilitated college enrollment of more than 5,000 low-income students. Seventy-nine percent of its students have gone on to college, compared to the national rate of 46 percent for high school graduates from the same income level, and they stay in college at a rate of 80 percent. The students have obtained over $28 million in scholarships. College Summit has offices in Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Denver; Culver City, California; and Charleston, West Virginia. It plans to expand to fourteen cities by 2009.
The College Summit workshop is an intensive, four-day experience in which the organization brings groups of low-income students referred by teachers or youth counselors from partner school districts to twenty or more partner colleges the summer before their senior year. The students work with experienced writing coaches, college counselors, and a youth facilitator (the "rap director"), and by the end of the workshop have completed a college essay and a universal college application and have met individually with a counselor to decide where to apply to college. College Summit delivers prescreened "preview portfolios," including essays, applications, and recommendation letters, to partner colleges months before their application deadlines. The results are multifold: Rising seniors complete their college applications well ahead of deadlines and are trained to serve as peer leaders to their classmates during senior year; high school teachers are trained in college application management, for which they receive professional development credit; colleges that host a workshop can introduce their campuses to a new pool of talent and get preview portfolios on students from all over the country; and community leaders get involved by serving as writing coaches, using College Summit's team method to help "unlock" students who think they can't write. Partner school districts see higher college enrollment; better student access to college resources; user-friendly, cost-effective tools; and empowered students.
Highlights of the Web site include the College Summit story , milestones, a list of results and awards, and reasons why this initiative should be supported. The Web site also supplies answers to frequently asked questions and a list of partners and supporters.
College Summit is funded by foundations, corporations, individuals, and fee-for-service arrangements with schools, school systems, and colleges. Service fees represent 15 percent of funding, but this is expected to exceed 50 percent as the model reaches scale.