Educational Institutions

College Possible

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • WWW.COLLEGEPOSSIBLE.ORG

Mission Statement

College Possible is making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.

Main Programs

  1. College Possible
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

College Possible currently serves high school students in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, PA and Chicago, IL. College Possible serves college students on over 250 college campuses across the United States.

ruling year

2000

CEO and Founder

Self-reported

Mr. Jim McCorkell

Keywords

Self-reported

College Possible, college admission, low-income, college access, K-12 education, after-school programming, mentoring, financial aid, ACT, college prep, college success

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EIN

41-1968798

 Number

3820460875

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

Undergraduate College (4-year) (B42)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

College Possible is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to making college graduation possible for capable, low-income students. We serve low-income students who have college potential but lack the tools necessary to access and succeed in college. Through near-peer coaching by AmeriCorps service members who are recent college graduates, we provide students with information and support they typically cannot get from counseling centers, parents or community networks.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

College Possible

College Possible’s theory of change rests on the premise that the academic, social and financial barriers to college access and success that low-income students face are mostly identifiable and predictable. Through near-peer coaching by recent college graduates, we provide students with information and support they typically cannot get from counseling centers, parents or community networks. College Possible raises awareness of college opportunities and provides intensive support for low-income students beginning their junior and senior years of high school and continuing through college graduation. During their junior and senior years, students commit to participating in college fairs, college campus visits and two-hour afterschool sessions twice each week. Each high school student has the opportunity to receive a total of 320 hours of direct service over the course of two years. After high school, College Possible continues to serve students throughout their college career as they work toward graduation and workforce entry.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

$4,798,509.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    College Possible aims to make college graduation possible for capable, low-income student. We envision a day when the future of America's children is determined solely by talent, motivation and effort.

    Founded in Minneapolis-St. Paul, College Possible has spent 15 years refining and replicating a model to help low-income students earn admission to and graduate from college. Our model harnesses the power of national service, resulting in a cost-efficient and results-effective program. Based on our record of success, we expanded into Milwaukee, WI in 2008; Omaha, NE in 2011; Portland, OR in 2012; Philadelphia, PA in 2013; and Chicago, IL in 2015. College Possible serves more than 22,000 students annually across the country. Nationally, only eight percent of high school graduates from low-income backgrounds earn a college degree by age 24, compared to the 73 percent from upper-income families (Postsecondary Education Opportunity, 2013). A college degree is the likeliest pathway out of poverty and can profoundly change individuals' lives, our community and our economy. Due to the complexities of the higher education system, low-income, first-generation, and minority students are the demographic groups least likely to attend college, which are the student demographics College Possible serves.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    College Possible works with students from the beginning of their junior year of high school and up until they graduate from college. College Possible's programming focuses on addressing students' academic, financial and informational needs, as well as supporting their social and cultural transition to college. Our program provides (1) academic support that begins with ACT/SAT test preparation and continues with, (2) college application assistance, (3) financial aid consulting (including financial literacy, scholarship search & renewal, and strengthening financial fitness, (4) guidance in the college transition and (5) support toward college degree completion. Through our near-peer coaching and support, students receive one-on-one assistance and guidance from their College Possible coach. Our proposed strategies and practices have a record of accelerating improved performance and closing achievement gaps between low-incomes students and their more affluent peers.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    College Possible is led by 15 National Board of Directors members and 31 local board members. The leadership team is made up 93 Full-time staff members, 196 AmeriCorps service members who deliver services to our students and 14 AmeriCorps VISTA service members who assist in organizational capacity building. The application of the AmeriCorps national service model to the issue of college access is one of the key innovations of College Possible's solution. College Possible was the first in the nation to use this model and prove its effectiveness. The AmeriCorps model allows for a successful, cost-effective and highly replicable solution. The most comparable federally-funded program costs seven times as much as the College Possible model.

    College Possible uses a copyrighted curriculum and logic model that have been developed and revised through fifteen years of application and evaluation. College Possible's National Office provides program management and support services, and centralized infrastructure and resources for sites. This management structure maximizes economies of scales, allowing all sites to operate at lower costs as they mature and scale.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    College Possible is a results-driven organization. We have created sound systems for regular review and evaluation that lead to both continuous performance improvement and a growing evidence base for our program model. College Possible tracks progress through a web-based student database, reporting results internally and externally via staff meetings, grant reports, tri-annual newsletters, and our annual report. It is through this process that we have been able to build a strong and successful curriculum.

    College Possible's interventions are both evidence-based and evidence-informed, supported by independent evaluations of our program. Our expertise in closing the achievement gap has been confirmed by five independent evaluations, including two Harvard studies (2011 and 2013). The 2013 Harvard evaluation, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) by Harvard Kennedy School professor Dr. Christopher Avery, found that College Possible has a significant positive effect on four-year college enrollment for low-income students. College Possible is the first college access organization to attempt such a rigorous evaluation. Nationally, only 12 percent of RCTs show a positive finding (Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, 2013).
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    College Possible continues to achieve best in class results for our students, and has been recognized on a national level for our work in closing the degree divide for low-income students. As a whole, our students are ten times more likely to earn a degree than their low-income peers


    College Possible students are achieving success at rates far surpassing their low-income peers when it comes to college enrollment, persistence and graduation. Of the College Possible class of 2015, 98% of seniors earned admission to college. 1,266 (84%) students enrolled in college in the fall semester following high school graduation, compared to an average of 51% first-year fall enrollment for low-income students nationally (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). Moreover, 78% of the Class of 2014 who enrolled in fall 2014 returned for their sophomore year in the fall of 2015, exceeding the national average of 67% for all students, regardless of income background. (ACT, 2012). 57% of College Possible students who enrolled in a four-year school graduated from college in six years or less, compared to an average of 11% for low-income students across the country (Pell Institute, 2011).


    - In 2014, College Possible was awarded a $3 million investment from the Department of Education's Investing in Innovation competition. More than 400 organizations applied, and only 26 were selected
    - Three College Possible students were nominated and selected to attend the White House's Beating the Odds Summit in July 2015. The Summit brought together 150 college-bound high school graduates for a celebratory event with the First Lady. College Possible student, Dijon McCain even received special praise on the First Lady's Instagram account, and garnered more than 19,000 likes.
    - We achieved excellent media attention, with prominent stories on National Public Radio and the New York Times, the Huffington Post, as well as local media outlets
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

College Possible currently serves high school students in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, PA and Chicago, IL. College Possible serves college students on over 250 college campuses across the United States.

Social Media

Blog

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External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

COLLEGE POSSIBLE INC
Fiscal year: Sep 01-Aug 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

College Possible

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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CEO and Founder

Mr. Jim McCorkell

BIO

Jim leads strategic organizational development, builds relationships with national partners and champions the organization's commitment to creating more college graduates. In 1999, Jim received a Master's of Public Administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government where he studied nonprofit management, strategic organizational development and the relationship between race, poverty and gender. He also received a B.A. from Carleton College with honors in 1990 and an M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995.

Jim's founded College Possible because of his own experience. His parents did not graduate from high school—though they ultimately earned G.E.D.s—and he experienced first-hand the disadvantage of attempting to navigate the admissions and financial aid process as a low-income student.

Jim worked previously with City Year where he managed the organization's strategic development. He also worked on U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's reelection campaign in 1995-96 as Deputy Finance Director and managed former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug's statewide campaign for Minnesota Attorney General in 1998.

Jim previously served on the board of directors for the National Association of College Admissions Counseling and currently serves on the board of Youth Frontiers and the steering committee of Voices for Service. He has also served on the board of directors for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Girl Scouts – St. Croix Valley.

Awards:
Ashoka Fellow, 2006
40 under 40, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 2006
Community Luminary Award, General Electric, 2007
Harmony with Hope Award, Elfenworks Foundation, 2011
Alumni Achievement Award, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, 2012
Carleton College Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, 2015

STATEMENT FROM THE CEO and Founder

"We believe College Possible is transforming communities and helping end the cycle of poverty for low-income students and their families, now and for future generations. As the first organization in the country to harness the power of the AmeriCorps national service model for college success, College Possible is able to provide an intensive two-year, curriculum-based high school program at one-seventh the rate of the most similarly intensive federally-funded program and achieve results for students that are the highest in the field. A 2005 independent evaluation of our work found that every dollar invested in the College Possible program resulted in a 333% return to society."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Laura Gillund

Cardiovascular Systems, Inc.

Term: Sept 2014 - Aug 2018

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?