uAspire

At a Glance

National Office: 
31 Milk St, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 788 7195

Bob Giannino
People Served: 
160,000
Year Founded: 
1985
Tax ID: 
46-1314848

Focus area(s):

College Access
After-School & Out-of-School

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Description

uAspire works to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to - and through - a postsecondary education. To accomplish this mission, uAspire provides free financial aid advice and advocacy to young people and families to help them overcome the financial barriers to higher education. The continuum of programming provides ongoing college affordability guidance and information from middle school to high school through college graduation, ensuring that finances never get in the way of potential. Through partnerships with high schools, community-based organizations and higher education institutions, uAspire has helped more than 250,000 students achieve their dream of a college degree.

Impact and Outcomes

uAspire’s advisees are more likely to enroll in college the fall after high school graduation than are their peers
In fall 2015, 67% of uAspire advisees nationally—and 76% in the Bay Area—enrolled compared to 53% of a demographically comparable group of students nationally.
uAspire’s advisees are also more likely to re-enroll for a second year of college than are their peers nationally, with 78% and 66% persistence rates respectively

Mission & Goals

uAspire works to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to—and through—a postsecondary education. uAspire is committed to reaching the day when all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or college experience. Our model is designed to achieve the following goals: increased postsecondary enrollment, increased postsecondary persistence, and increased postsecondary completion.

Program

uAspire’s continuum of college affordability programming supports students where they are in the college access process and helps them overcome the financial barriers to higher education. uAspire’s curriculum consists of three complementary, developmentally-appropriate Program Models: Prepare, Afford, and Succeed. 
 
PREPARE: Starting as early as 7th grade, uAspire’s Prepare programming delivers content in interactive, hour-long group workshops that address students’ belief systems about who can afford college. Students are encouraged to see themselves as future college graduates, educated on the steps they can take to prepare for higher education, and introduced to the basic concepts and language of the financial aid process.
 
AFFORD: uAspire’s Afford program focuses on high school seniors, providing guidance and support via group workshops and personalized one-on-one advising sessions that ensure that each student can find an affordable option for postsecondary education. Through the Afford program, uAspire guides seniors through all the tasks necessary to maximize eligibility for financial aid—such as completing the FAFSA, identifying scholarship opportunities, and navigating the verification process—and teaches students how to analyze financial aid award letters and loan options, empowering them to make an informed financial decision about college.
 
SUCCEED: uAspire’s Succeed program provides continued support beyond high school to ensure students’ enrollment in college and persistence through the attainment of a postsecondary degree, certificate, or credential. uAspire leverages social media, text, email, and phone messages to remind students about critical deadlines and offer additional one-on-one support related to maintaining and renewing financial aid, as well as developing financial literacy skills. 
 
In addition, uAspire has developed a Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) model that provides best-in-class instruction, resources, and ongoing support on issues of college affordability to frontline college access and success providers in dozens of partner school districts, community organizations, and higher education institutions in over 20 states across the country.

In early 2015, uAspire began piloting a “virtual” offshoot of our in-person advising model through a research initiative sponsored by the Institute for Educational Sciences that provides text message-based advising and support to over 31,000 students across 15 states, from their junior year of high school through the summer following high school graduation.  

Impact

uAspire's programming aims to help students access and succeed in an affordable postsecondary education. By empowering students with the knowledge and resources they need to make an informed financial decision about college, we hope to increase not just matriculation, but also persistence and ultimately graduation rates, setting students on a path toward a secure economic future and breaking the cycle of poverty in this and subsequent generations.
 
Working primarily with low-income, first generation students, uAspire has achieved impressive results toward these goals. Nationally, 65% of uAspire’s Class of 2013 advisees enrolled in a postsecondary institution that fall, compared to enrollment rates of just 29% for non-uAspire seniors at the same high schools in two of our cities. uAspire students also persist in college: in fall 2012, 89% of college freshman who had, as 12th graders, completed uAspire's three signature advising activities re-enrolled for a second year. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped over 250,000 students find an affordable path to higher education.
 
Through our advocacy work and partnerships with other college access and success organizations, uAspire has also influenced policy changes at the local, state, and federal level that have raised the profile of college affordability issues and improved outcomes for students.

Growth Plan

uAspire is committed to expanding our capacity to meet the increasing need for our expert college affordability guidance and expertise throughout the country. Through our National Growth with Quality plan, we will extend the scope of our direct service in the markets where we currently serve, build out our Training & Technical Assistance model to improve the practice of existing providers throughout the country, and engage with policy and advocacy efforts that ensure people and institutions of influence have the information and perspective they need to enact positive, lasting change. Through this growth plan, uAspire aims to improve college affordability outcomes for more than 1,000,000 students annually by 2017. As we work to ensure that all students have the information and resources they need to find an affordable path to and through college, uAspire will continue to evaluate, seek out, and create additional pathways to expanded impact.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
31 Milk St, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 788 7195
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:

2016

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$1,694,398
Foundation Grants: 
$2,252,425
Government Funding: 
$0
Contributions from Individuals: 
$1,131,798
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$1,235,099
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$466,872
Other Revenue: 
$694,157
Other Revenue (Description): 
In-kind:39,691.00
Total Revenue: 
$7,474,749

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$5,150,054
Occupancy: 
$408,453
Travel & Entertainment: 
$336,371
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$90,882
Telephone & Communications: 
$256,836
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$251,148
Other Expenses (Description): 

Scholarships : 


$39,691.00
Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$6,493,744

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$981,005

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2015

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$752,094
Foundation Grants: 
$1,680,673
Government Funding: 
$0
Contributions from Individuals: 
$1,240,116
Program Services Fees: 
$739,197
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$230,358
Other Revenue: 
$826,681
Other Revenue (Description): 
$111,596.00
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$5,469,119

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$4,244,422
Occupancy: 
$398,010
Travel & Entertainment: 
$347,008
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$63,781
Telephone & Communication: 
$216,412
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$200,865
Other Expenses (Description): 

$111,596.00

 
 

Total Expenses: 
$5,470,498

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$-1,379

Major Funders

Crimson-Lion Lavine Family Foundation

State Street Foundation

Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

The GreenLight Fund

Spark*SF Public Schools in conjunction with Google