As a former low-income student myself, I know that college is not often a priority for people who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s not because we don’t aspire to graduate from a four-year institution, or because we don’t value the power of education, or because we are lazy –– that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s a matter of survival.
When we are forced to assume major responsibilities at young ages, such as helping sustain a family living paycheck to paycheck, college becomes a privilege that is almost impossible to afford on our own.
Executive Director at College Match, Erica Rosales, could not have said it better: “Low-income students are $500 away from dropping out.”
This is why we need as much help as possible. There should be no limits for motivated students with big dreams, right? Well, thankfully, that is precisely what College Match thinks.
Founded by Harley Frankel, who was the first of his family to attend college, College Match is lighting up the path of nearly 600 students from low-income families in Los Angeles every year.
College Match understands that getting into college is a full-time job for any student and, for first-generation, low-income (FGLI) students, the research and preparation are even more challenging.
They firmly believe that “with access to the same resources and support their peers enjoy, low-income students are just as successful,” and their stats prove it:
- 100% of the students in the program get into 4-year colleges.
- 70% of their graduates over the past six years were admitted into a Top 25 school with sufficient financial assistance
- 95% get into Top 50 colleges, and 95% graduate
- Forty-six of their recent low-income students have received Gates Millennium Scholarships, and six have received Fulbright Scholarships.
College Match has also significantly impacted our Latinx communities as 80% of their students are Latinx. They are investing in the future of our young generations, who are full of potential and ambition and providing an opportunity to thrive.
Rosales, who comes from a low-income background, really empathizes with these high-achieving Latinx students. Her personal experience and professional career allow her to cater to their needs.
“My dad can tell me what mechanic to go to or what carpenter to go to. [Low-income students] have that network, but, if you want to transform your life through education, there is a different network that we don’t have access to –– yet,” Rosales told us. “So, once you go to these institutions, that network opens up to you. And if you don’t have a mentor to help you take advantage of that, you don’t know how to use it effectively.”
The program first pairs each student with a college counselor to guide them through the process from application to graduation. Mentors adopt a cohort of 10-20 students, and they hold every student’s hand throughout the entire journey from junior year preparations to senior year applications and beyond.
The organization helps students with everything from tutoring, SAT prep, college applications, financial aid applications, scholarships applications, and other college expenses.
College Match generates a return on investment of 2,000% in total financial assistance for their students for every dollar raised. So, we can contribute to their incredible work here.
Let’s make sure that we, along with College Match, break all barriers in low-income students’ educational paths.