College Forward

At a Glance

National Office: 
312 W. Murray Ave.
Manor, TX 78653
Phone: (512) 452-4800

Lisa Fielder
Tax ID: 
432003552

Focus area(s):

College Access

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Description

College Forward is an Austin-based college completion program that begins in high school with a single goal: a bachelor's degree for every student. They provide intensive mentoring for low-income and first-generation students whose education, without their services, would most likely end with high school. 

From 30 students in its inaugural 2003 class, College Forward now serves over 3,400 students from Austin and Houston who attend 17 high schools across 10 public school districts or one of more than 110 colleges across the nation. College Forward projects that 700 students will earn bachelor's degrees by 2016.

Impact and Outcomes

99% of CoFo students have graduated from high school
99% have been accepted to college
More than 90% enter college within 12 months of high school graduation
83% of students who have entered college since 2003 are either still enrolled or have graduated
College Forward's students take an average of 4.35 years to earn a bachelor's degree
More than 80% of College Forward's students report mentoring other youth along the college pathway
Projecting to serve over 3,400 students in 2012-13

Mission & Goals

College Forward's mission is to ensure more low-income students are able to enter and graduate from college. They do this by providing college access and college completion services to motivated, economically disadvantaged students, in order to facilitate their transition to college and make the process exciting and rewarding.  College Forward accomplishes this by providing orientation to the college experience, preparation for college entrance examinations, assistance with college applications and assistance securing financial college completion support. College Forward believes access to higher education is the right of every young person. 

Program

College Forward is one of only a handful of organizations addressing the entirety of the college completion gap. Many organizations help students enter college, albeit without the ongoing support to help students persist and graduate. They believe that an acceptance letter is only one step -- and not the most difficult —along the path to a degree. Students are recruited their junior year of high school and must be in the the top 60% of their class. They must also either be a first generation college student or qualify for the the National School Lunch Program. Students attend classes twice weekly following four semesters of uniquely designed curriculum:

 
Junior Year Fall - self-exploration, college research
Junior Year Spring - ACT and SAT test preparation, Summer Tour of Colleges
Senior Year Fall - essays and college applications
Senior Year Spring - FAFSA and scholarship applications, college success strategies
 
Because their students are geographically dispersed, college completion services rely on technology and social media. College Forward's completion staff assist with a wide range of academic, financial and socio-emotional problems.

Impact

College Forward's student-centered programs are unique but successful. As of June 2012:

  • 99% of CoFo students have graduated from high school 
  • 99% have been accepted to college
  • 90% enter college within 12 months of high school graduation 
  • 81% enroll at four-year institutions
  • 83% of students who have entered college since 2003 are either still enrolled or have graduated 
  • College Forward students take an average of 4.35 years to earn bachelor’s degrees
  • 85% of students report mentoring other youth along the college pathway – very few low-income students receive any type of college preparation or college mentoring services. 

These success rates far surpass national averages for all students, including those from high-income backgrounds.

Growth Plan

College Forward’s Strategic Growth Plan outlines an ambitious initiative to scale the organization’s impact through Success Partnerships, working with universities and other youth-serving organizations to provide college completion services to their low-income students.

College Forward will leverage their college completion expertise and successful, low-cost program model to provide customizable services that meet the needs and resources of target partner groups:

  • Colleges and universities
     
  • College access organizations
     
  • Scholarship providers
     
  • Charter schools, parochial schools, and public school districts
     
  • Civic and university-based service organizations

Though they intend for CoFo to remain the market leader, the ultimate ambition is to solve the problem. The number of low-income students who need college completion support is simply too great for a single organization to address; they hope to inspire other organizations not only to participate and compete, but also to benefit from CoFo’s example of best practices in student services. Solving this problem on a national scale will truly “take a village;” and, by implementing their strategic plan, CoFo aims to figuratively build the first hut.

Because the college completion program is largely virtual, administered through social media outlets, CoFo will not be constrained by geographic location. In fact, they have served students at institutions as widely separated as Maine and California since 2005, with excellent results. With thoughtful preparation, the careful investment in resources and capacity, and the development of a strong service model, they are confident in College Forward’s ability to market Success Partnerships nationwide. 

Location of Sites

National Office: 
312 W. Murray Ave.
Manor, TX 78653
Phone: (512) 452-4800
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

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Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2015

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$2,186,548
Government Funding: 
$949,928
Contributions from Individuals: 
$276,000
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$290,125
Other Revenue: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$3,702,601

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$2,957,673
Occupancy: 
$374,556
Travel & Entertainment: 
$221,529
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$68,998
Telephone & Communications: 
$27,866
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$410,140
Other Expenses (Description): 

Other expenses: one-time rebranding initiative, equipment for growing staff (i.e. computers, phones, etc.)

and other program related expenses.

Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$4,060,762

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$-358,161

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2014

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$1,799,218
Government Funding: 
$963,176
Contributions from Individuals: 
$218,753
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$30,660
Other Revenue: 
$2,228
Other Revenue (Description): 
In-kind revenue
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$3,014,035

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$2,238,613
Occupancy: 
$223,523
Travel & Entertainment: 
$101,800
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$41,909
Telephone & Communication: 
$23,781
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$196,542
Other Expenses (Description): 

Other expenses include: Program related events and IT expenses. 

Total Expenses: 
$2,826,168

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$187,867

Major Funders

 

Funders:

ACAN

Anonymous

Applied Materials Foundation

Austin Community Foundation

Bank of America Local Grant

Dougherty Foundation

Greater Texas Foundation

JP Morgan Chase

KDK Harman Foundation

KLE Foundation

Lumina Foundation

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Mitte Foundation

OneStar Foundation (AmeriCorps)

Powell Foundation

Rachael & Ben Vaughan Foundation

RGK Foundation

Seawll Elam Foundation

Simmons Foundation

St. David Episcopal Church

Texas Pioneer Foundation

The Long Foundation

Topfer Foundation

USA Funds

Webber Family Foundation

Wilemon Family Foundaton