Educational Institutions

Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc.

  • Glen Allen, VA
  • www.grasp4va.org

Mission Statement

GRASP will help students and their families, regardless of their financial resources and at no charge to them, develop an educational plan by: assisting them with the financial aid process;awarding and administering scholarships;inspiring them to believe that secondary and post-secondary education are attainable goals; andsupporting them in the attainment of their post-secondary education goals.

Main Programs

  1. In-school Advising
  2. Scholarship Awards and Administration
  3. College Success Program
  4. Library Programs
  5. Early Commitment Program
Service Areas

Self-reported

Virginia

2015-2016 76 Participating Schools/Venues in 31 School Systems Augusta County Bath County Brunswick County Buckingham County Charles City County Chesterfield County City of Hopewell City of Petersburg City of Richmond City of Staunton City of Waynesboro Colonial Beach Colonial Heights Cumberland County Essex County Goochland County Hanover County Henrico County Highland County King and Queen County King William County Lancaster County Lunenburg County MLW Governor's School Nelson County New Kent County Northstar Academy Northumberland County Powhatan County Prince George County Richmond County Sussex County VA Home for Boys & Girls Westmoreland County

ruling year

1983

Principal Officer since 2010

Self-reported

Elizabeth E Heggie

Keywords

Self-reported

GRASP, Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Reach for the Stars, Saturday at the Library, College Financial Aid

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EIN

52-1277427

 Number

6200152377

Also Known As

GRASP

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

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

Accomplishments: Provided free, in-school financial aid advising program to include 76 schools/venues not only in the Central Virginia/Central Blue Ridge but also in the Northern Neck region and Essex County. During the 2014-2015 school year, advisors met with 7,284 students individually and had 48,486 contacts through parent seminars, classroom presentations, community outreach, and individual appointments. Average student financial aid award package awarded to GRASP students exceeded $13,000.Served 646 active military or veteran families.$1,673,343 in scholarships awarded in the past seven years.College Success Program, targeting GRASP students/ scholarship winners who are now in college, in an effort to increase college retention rates, has had 753 enrolled students. 111 actively participated this past year, 75% of whom are low-income/disabled.Provided advising at 21 schools (will increase to 28 schools this year) with SOAR Virginia®, an Early Commitment Program funded by VA529. Advisors worked with up to 45 students (10th-12th grades) in each school on college readiness. 525 students are currently participating, and a 10th grade cohort will be added this fall. 98% are on track to graduate from high school. The 10th to 12th Grade program has been the fastest-growing GRASP sector.Provided financial aid/college assistance to disabled students at public high schools and at Northstar Academy, a private school for students with disabilities. In the 2015-2016 school year, 563 students with disabilities were served. Goals: Sustain services at our present schools and increase the number of students served at each location. Our annual cost is about $10,000 per school which can be a burden to school systems. The majority of this cost is alleviated by private / corporate donations and funding from foundations.Increase the number/amount of scholarships we award and make our scholarships renewable.Increase the number of students/families served at Saturday at the Library programs, at which advisors assist families in completing the FAFSA.Continue and expand in the Northern Neck area the Early Commitment Program, providing college readiness planning to students beginning in the 10th grade.Sustain Latino services by providing bilingual support and assistance in finding education funding options.Expand College Success program to more fully support students in attaining their degrees and to prepare GRASP students going to college for the first time.

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

In-school Advising

GRASP's goal is to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity for continuing education after high school, regardless of financial or social circumstances. We emphasize assisting students from low-income families, many of whom do not believe they will be able to attend a post-secondary institution, primarily for financial reasons. GRASP advisors complement school counseling services by helping students navigate the postsecondary financial aid process, including accessing federal, state, and institutional aid to attend four year-colleges, community colleges, or technical schools. Advisors help students understand that regardless what their high school academic record was, there is a future for them in post-secondary education (i.e.,four-year college, technical school, community college or apprenticeship.) Advisors help with FAFSA completion, scholarship applications, and explaining financial aid award letters, enabling students to make choices that minimize debt.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Other Named Groups

Budget

$736,839.00

Program 2

Scholarship Awards and Administration

GRASP awards at least one scholarship to a graduating senior at each GRASP-served school. GRASP also awards scholarships to a number of students in our College Success Program. Scholarships range from $500 to $4,500. Additionally, GRASP helps administer scholarships for other organizations that need assistance in publicizing, organizing, and selecting scholarship winners.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Other Named Groups

Budget

$143,500.00

Program 3

College Success Program

In addition to our work in high schools, GRASP has a College Success Program aimed at increasing the college retention rate. Statistics from the Chronicle of Higher Education show that only 49% of Virginia students who enroll in a public college or university graduate on time, and less than 68% actually receive a degree within 6 years. The College Success Program assists students by providing support as they transition from high school to college and continuing through their college years. * College Success is open to GRASP scholarship recipients as well as other GRASP students who choose to participate. * The objective is for 80% of students to take at least 6 credit hours each semester until graduation, while maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA. * Strategies include: monthly email, networking events, financial aid assistance, and on-line community support. * There were 753 students enrolled in the College Success program last year, with 111 active participants. Approximately 75% of College Success students are under significant financial stress.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$63,500.00

Program 4

Library Programs

GRASP works in collaboration with the Richmond Public Library, the Chesterfield County Public Libraries, and the Henrico County Public Libraries to bring the expertise of our advisors to those people who cannot meet with them in the schools. On selected evenings and weekends from September through March, GRASP advisors meet with students and their families in individual as well as group sessions. GRASP financial aid advisors help the families complete the FAFSA and other financial aid forms on-site. The Library staff help with publicity, provision of the internet, and providing meeting rooms. In addition, GRASP now has an advisor in the Belmont Branch of the Richmond Public Library one day of the week from October through April. All consultations with advisors require appointments.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Other Named Groups

Budget

$10,000.00

Program 5

Early Commitment Program

GRASP implements SOAR Virginia®, an Early Commitment Program funded by Virginia529 College Savings Plan℠, in 28 GRASP schools. In this program, advisors begin to work with students in the 10th Grade. Up to 45 students in each school have the opportunity to participate in this college readiness program through which each student can earn up to $2,000 for college. GRASP advisors work with students on financial literacy, attendance, grades, community service, post-secondary school options and post-secondary financial aid. Students have earned $464,000 in scholarships funded by Virginia529. 100% of participating students are on track to graduate from high school.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$63,000.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

Virginia

2015-2016 76 Participating Schools/Venues in 31 School Systems Augusta County Bath County Brunswick County Buckingham County Charles City County Chesterfield County City of Hopewell City of Petersburg City of Richmond City of Staunton City of Waynesboro Colonial Beach Colonial Heights Cumberland County Essex County Goochland County Hanover County Henrico County Highland County King and Queen County King William County Lancaster County Lunenburg County MLW Governor's School Nelson County New Kent County Northstar Academy Northumberland County Powhatan County Prince George County Richmond County Sussex County VA Home for Boys & Girls Westmoreland County

Additional Documents

Funding Needs

$10,000/school; funding for each GRASP school (total of 76 in 2015-2016).Last Dollar Scholarship Funding. The annual need is $200,000. $113,000; Expanded services of our College Success program, including an expanded role of the College Success advisor, renewable scholarships for our College Success students, up-to-date laptops for college students (primarily low income) and a summer college-readiness boot camp for rising freshmen in the College Success program.Develop GRASP's fundraising capabilities from individual donors not dependent on tax credits.

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Financials

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

GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program Inc
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Elizabeth E Heggie

BIO

Bettsy Heggie graduated from Salem College in North Carolina. She received her MBA from Wake Forest University. Her experience is in organizational formation, growth and administration. While at Continental Cablevision, later known as Comcast, she was a Senior Director of Information Technology. In this role, she developed and managed the company's first corporate-wide department for information technology contracts, budgeting, human resources, and accounting. This provided her the opportunity to work across the United States, in Argentina, and in the United Kingdom. While with Comcast, Bettsy earned project management certification, which follows a telecommunications-developed project management curriculum, at the University of Denver's Center for Project Management. Additionally, while with Comcast, Bettsy completed The Center for Creative Leadership's LeaderLab program. While in the cable television industry Bettsy served on the board of directors of the Women in Cable and Telecommunications. Also during this time, Bettsy served as the treasurer of Tuckahoe Elementary and Middle School P.T.A.'s and the president of the Tuckahoe Middle School P.T.A. She and her husband Tom, a career public school educator, have one child, now grown, a product of Henrico County Public Schools and the College of William and Mary. Since joining GRASP in 2006, Bettsy has been the advisor at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield County, the advisor at Freeman High School in Henrico County, the Advising Coordinator, and Director of Advisors. She became GRASP Executive Director and CEO in January 2010. Bettsy serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia College Access Network. Both assets and resources have grown significantly under her tenure. In January 2010, there were GRASP Advisors in 40 Virginia high schools, and GRASP served 3,700 students. By June of 2016, GRASP advisors worked in 76 high schools and assisted more than 7,200 individual students.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"The College Board in its publication The College Keys Compact, expanding Options for Low-Income Students, reports that low-income students are at greater risk of missing admission and financial aid deadlines because of lack of informed support, complex aid applications and the fact that the aid offer notification process can be overwhelming to low-income students. Additionally, insufficient hands-on assistance to students and families who are completing aid forms continues to provide a challenge in the financial aid application process, and, finally, parents and students tend to maintain inaccurate perceptions of college costs. Further, this document reports that ""The FAFSA, which takes an average of 10 hours to complete, is four times longer than the simplest tax return (i.e., IRS Form 1040EZ) and longer than IRS Form 1040. This complexity disproportionately burdens those with the lowest incomes, who can benefit the most from federal aid programs but lack the know-how to complete the FAFSA." GRASP advisors are trained to address and help students overcome these barriers. The difficulties described are exactly the niche filled by the GRASP program. GRASP advisors are experienced college financial aid professionals. They bring to their advising work a breadth of experience, representing a diverse range of careers, educational backgrounds, and volunteer activities. The individuals who serve as GRASP advisors bring both experience and a commitment to college access. This professionalism enriches the advising services provided by GRASP. There is not an area agency that provides similar services at no cost to students and families, especially directly in the high schools. Each dollar donated to GRASP in the fiscal year ending June 2016, yielded approximately $154 in college financial aid. GRASP participates in Virginia's Neighborhood Assistance Program; consequently, qualified donors may be able to benefit from a 65% state tax credit. We invite you to join us in encouraging students (particularly those who are low-income or struggling with disabilities) to maximize their potential by continuing to post-secondary education and assisting students and their families in gathering the resources needed to access this education. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Dr. Robert D. Holsworth

DecideSmart

Term: Dec 2011 - June 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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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?