The Need

Nationally, the student-to-adviser ratio is over 482:1, leaving many students with just 20 minutes a year with a college adviser. High-need students often lack the guidance and support they need to prepare for college, apply to best-fit schools and for financial aid, enroll and persist in their studies, and graduate.

In today’s economy, postsecondary education has become the single most important step that many young people can take to boost their economic mobility, transform their lives, and build the future of their families and communities—and in fact, to increase civic engagement across our democracy.

Yet, too many high school students are not applying to or going to college. For the extraordinary numbers of qualified low-income and first-generation college students not getting any of these opportunities, the consequences for them, their families, and in fact our country are profound.

According to a 2015 study by the American Council on Education, high-income students are 30 percentage points more likely to enroll than equally qualified low-income students.[1] Not only is the national student-to-adviser ratio over 482:1, leaving many students with less than 20 minutes per year with a college adviser.[2] But, colleges and universities tend to avoid visiting schools in poor areas even when those schools have large numbers of students who had performed well on tests.[3]

We have to do a much better job sharing the reality that higher education at every level—four-year colleges, technical colleges, community colleges—all boost economic mobility and give people a greater share in the American dream.

The path to economic equity runs through college…
  • When children born into the bottom fifth of the income distribution get a college degree, their chances of making it to the top quartile nearly quadruple, and their chances of making it out of the bottom quartile increase by more than 50%.[4]
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts has found that 47% of adults without a bachelor’s degree who grew up in the bottom family income quintile remained in the bottom quintile, compared with just 10% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree.[5]
  • The median earnings of the college-educated worker are 84% higher than the median earnings of a worker with only a high school education.[6]
  • In 2013, the median earnings for a college-degree holder were $45,500 compared with $28,000 for those with only a high school diploma.[7]

College Advising Corps has built a results-oriented near-peer adviser approach that is increasing the postsecondary enrollment of students from low-income, first-generation college-going, and underrepresented backgrounds.

We hope that you will join us in activating the next generation of leaders to propel one million low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students to college by 2025.

* All data is from these Stanford-affiliated researchers unless otherwise noted.
[1]  The American Council on Education
[2] The National Association for College Admission Counseling and the American School Counselor Association
[3] The New York Times
[4] Executive Office of the President
[5] And see: The Pew Charitable Trusts found that 47% of adults without a bachelor’s degree who grew up in the bottom family income quintile remained in the bottom quintile, compared with just 10% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree (Pew Charitable Trusts, 2012, Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations, Figures 3 and 18).
[6] Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
[7] Pew Charitable Trusts