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College Access and Excellence

National College Advising Corps

National College Advising Corps significantly increases college enrollment among low-income students who have the potential to excel in higher education, but need extra support in selecting and understanding how to pay for the most rigorous college available. The program recruits and trains recent college graduates to serve as advisers in high schools nationwide.

Launched in 2005 with Jack Kent Cooke Foundation support, National College Advising Corps has grown from a university supported organization (originally based at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) with 14 college advisers into a national, award-winning, independent 501(c)(3) organization. It currently retains 375 advisers serving 126,900 students in 423 high schools across 14 states. Since the program’s inception, the Foundation has invested over $12 million in the program. The Foundation’s current funding supports the National College Advising Corps’ efforts to lead, develop, and evaluate college undermatching initiatives (a dilemma where high achieving, low income students are not applying to selective colleges that match their abilities).

Community College Transfer Initiative

The Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative (CCTI) was designed to help high-achieving community-college students earn bachelor’s degrees at top colleges and universities nationwide. The Foundation has invested roughly $7 million to develop targeted programs at highly-selective four-year institutions.

Through this grant initiative, the Foundation currently supports a cadre of selective colleges and universities and their community college partners that are committed to developing and supporting programs to improve access for high-achieving, low-income community college transfer students.

The Foundation, in partnership with the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, has sponsored significant research designed to answer important questions related to the initiative. Learn more about the results in the research report, Transfer Access to Elite Colleges and Universities in the United States: Threading the Needle of the American Dream.

Pathways to Baccalaureate

With Jack Kent Cooke Foundation funding, Northern Virginia Community College provides college counseling to more than 500 students in Loudoun County per year and awards 60 Pathways scholarships to high-ability, low-income students attending NVCC and George Mason University.

Pathways to Baccalaureate program supports students as they make the transition from high school, through NVCC to George Mason or another university. Pathway has emerged as an award-winning program model that has demonstrated remarkable outcomes in the areas of college access, success and completion.