Sponsor a Scholar

Program Mission

The Sponsor a Scholar Program is a college access initiative under the direction of The Admissions Pro that provides the opportunity for an individual, organization, or group to sponsor a low income, first-generation high school student in obtaining a college degree from an accredited, 4-year institution with little or no debt.

 

To achieve this objective, low-income students are guided toward colleges that meet two important criteria:

1. The college or university must have a graduation rate that exceeds the national average.

 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 60% of students entering college in 2011 graduated by 2017. Private, non-profit colleges performed the best with a graduation rate of 66%. Low-income, first-generation students are far more likely to succeed at institutions with competitive completion rates.

2. The college or university must have ample funds allocated for students with need.

Some colleges and universities pledge to meet the full financial need of their students. Although very few colleges can make such a lofty promise, there are several hundred colleges and universities that offer generous financial aid packages which may meet a significant amount, if not all, of a student's financial need. Private scholarships, augmented by state and federal aid, can cover a considerable portion of the cost, if not all, a student's unmet need.

 

College graduation rates among low-income, first-generation students are dangerously low despite increasing enrollment numbers. Many students in this demographic never even make it to campus. Colleges require students to submit a plethora of enrollment paperwork and forms, some even ask students to select their courses for the first semester. Every year, about 20% of students admitted to college are required to verify the information provided on financial aid forms in order to receive aid. All of these steps can be confusing and overwhelming to first-generation students and their parents who never went through the process themselves. Moreover, many of these last steps toward enrollment happen during the summer when students have limited to no access to school counselors. Low-income, first-generation students desperately require college admissions and financial aid access coaching during the day, evening, weekends, and summertime, to ensure a successful enrollment process. Something that economically strapped and under-resourced school systems are often unable to provide.

 

Scholars nominated for the program will receive professional, comprehensive, one-on-one, college admissions and financial aid access coaching during the evenings, weekends, and throughout the summer in tandem with school counselors providing a constant support system for the student and family. Coaching takes place around the family's schedule, in the comfort of their own home, or a public location with wi-fi access.

The parent or legal guardian of a scholar will receive assistance completing all financial aid applications, including the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS Financial Aid Profile, as well as complying with verification procedures required by financial aid offices. Although the goal is for a scholar to earn a degree with little to no debt, debt management, and default prevention counseling will be provided for the family if the student needs to take out a student loan.

A Sponsor may nominate a scholar of their choice or be assigned one. Scholars are chosen by high school administrators, community leaders, and community-based organizations. A meeting with the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) followed by an interview with the student is required. 

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Over the past 10-years, I have helped hundreds of students achieve their educational dreams of earning a bachelor's degree with little to no debt while earning over $2 million in private, institutional, federal, and state funds.

 

Here are two articles from Elon News Network and Potomac Local News that provide an example of the tangible benefits professional, comprehensive, one-on-one college admissions, and financial aid access coaching offers.

Q & A

What does low-income mean?

Low-income refers to any student eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. Pell Grants are awarded to first-time undergraduates who display an exceptional amount of unmet need.

According to SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia), low income is considered 0-200% of the Federal Poverty level.

How much does a Federal Pell Grant award a low-income student?

During the 2019-20 academic year, a college student was eligible to receive a Pell Grant with an EFC of 5711 or below. The Pell Grant awards up to $6,345 to students with the lowest EFC’s; awards decrease as the EFC increases.

What is the average cost of attendance at a college or university?

The average cost of attendance for a student living on campus in 2019-20 was $53,980 for private colleges and $26,590 at 4-year public college.

What is unmet need?

Unmet need or financial need refers to the difference between the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room & board) at a college or university, and the Expected Family Contribution [EFC].

What is an EFC?

The EFC is an index number that determines how much financial aid a student will receive from the college or university, the Federal Government, the State Government (if applicable), and in some cases, private scholarships.

What is a typical EFC for a low-income student?

Many low-income students have an EFC as low as 0, meaning they are eligible for the maximum amount of financial aid available. However, just because a student has an EFC of 0, does not guarantee that a student’s financial need will be met. Many colleges will suggest to students and families that they borrow large sums of money each year to cover the rapidly rising cost of attendance.

What is required of the sponsor?

The sponsor is only required to cover the cost of all four phases of the coaching program. Sponsors will receive regular updates on the progress and success of the student.

How much does it cost to sponsor a scholar?

It costs $3000 to sponsor a scholar; this covers all four phases of my coaching program. 

What are the four phases of your coaching program?

My coaching program is individualized to each student, and includes the following services:

Phase I

1. Identify colleges and universities that meet the following criteria:

a) The college is a good fit based on the student's academic, personal, and social profile

b) The college’s graduation rate exceeds that of the national average

c) The college has the means to provide ample financial support to low-income students.

2. Establish a target chart identifying target, safety, and reach based on the student's academic profile and the selectivity of the college or university.

3. Establish an admissions strategy (regular decision, early action, or early decision).

4. Assist with brainstorming, outlining, and writing admissions essays and supplements.

Phase II

1. Identify local colleges to visit and "fly-out" programs to colleges beyond the local area.

2. Assist with college applications and ensure that all necessary documents are submitted on time.

3. Reach out to admissions representatives as needed to advocate on a student's behalf, and/or discuss any extraordinary circumstances that may impact a student's admissions process.

4. Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the CSS Financial Aid Profile, and state financial aid applications.

 

Phase III

1. Prepare for admissions and scholarship interviews.

2. Assist with a private and institutional scholarship search and the completion and submission of scholarship applications.

3. Assist with brainstorming, outlining, and writing of scholarship essays.

4. Perform a thorough review and consultation of financial aid packages and award letters

 

5. Assist with the financial aid appeal process if additional institutional funds are needed.

5. Provide student loan, debt management, and default prevention counseling if student takes out a student loan.

Phase IV

1. Assist with the timely completion and submission of enrollment paperwork and procedures.

2. Ensure the enrollment deposit is paid by the deadline or waived by the admissions office if an arrangement has not been made.

3. Provide consultation regarding various resources and support services available on a college campus.