Juliana Sloane wrote -
ScholarMatch is honored to be one of 18 organizations given the Perlman Foundation's Bridging the Gap Award. With this award, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar until December 15th. Thank you for supporting ScholarMatch!
ScholarMatch was launched in 2010 by author and 826 Valencia founder Dave Eggers as a crowdfunding platform to provide scholarships to high-needs students. Since then, we've grown into a comprehensive college access organization, serving students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to help break the cycle of poverty by making college possible for all students. We do this by connecting low-income students with the resources, donors, and schools that will empower them to apply, enroll, and graduate from college.
It has been shown that higher education is the most cost effective solution to ending the cycle of poverty, however, the road to completing college for low-income, first-generation students is riddled with obstacles. While there are 4.5 million low-income, first-generation students enrolled in colleges and universities today, the likelihood that they will complete their degree is dramatically less than their peers.
The typical ScholarMatch student comes from a household with an annual income of under $30,000, where they are the first in their family to attend college. Most students attend schools that are stretched thin—operating with just one guidance counselor per 500 students. Because of this, students must often navigate the college admissions process in isolation—a situation that drastically impacts their likelihood of graduation.
ScholarMatch works to make college possible for all students by focusing on two core areas: providing last dollar scholarships that allow students to build a direct relationship with a donor, and free, comprehensive college access counseling through our College Success Program. These programs are detailed below.
- ScholarMatch Scholarships: ScholarMatch awards need-based scholarships to high-achieving college-bound students while creating a meaningful support network of donors and mentors. All scholarships fill the ‘last dollar’ gap after all other resources are exhausted, and each student is matched with a donor from their community. Students and donors build their relationship through written updates and participation in ScholarMatch events and celebrations. Since our founding in 2010, we have awarded more than $400,000 in scholarship support.
- College Success Program: As our founding scholarship program grew, increasingly the students who came to us needed specific types of assistance: help finding a school,help understanding financial aid packages, and information to help their families better navigate their entry into higher education. To address this, we launched the College Success Program. This flexible, holistic program has allowed us to meet the diverse needs of local youth far beyond the cohort of students we provide scholarships to.
The College Success Program offers free, comprehensive college access support services to any interested low-income student from 7th grade on. Our services are offered year-round, available in Spanish and English, and open to parents as well as students. These include weekly workshops, college field trips, career exploration events, drop-in college coaching, and individual financial aid and college counseling. ScholarMatch also partners with local high schools and organizations to offer services in multiple locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In its 2012-13 pilot year, the College Success Program served 155 students, offered 64 workshops, and provided 112 one-on-one student advising sessions.