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  • Awarded: 2006
  • Issue Areas: Education · Secondary Education
  • Countries Served: USA
  • Web:
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    About the Organization

    College Summit is a national non-profit organization that partners with schools and districts to strengthen college-going culture and increase college enrollment rates, so that all students graduate career and college-ready.

    Over the past decade, College Summit has worked in partnership with schools, school districts and colleges to develop a sustainable model for raising college enrollment rates community-wide.

    College Summit is the nation’s largest non-profit dedicated to transforming the lives of low-income youth by connecting them to college and career. Every year the organization serves 36,000 students in grades nine through 12.

    College Summit uses peer leadership, custom curricula, real-time student performance data and technology to help get these high school students from low-income communities to and through college.

    Many, if not most, will be the first in their families to attend college.

    An independent analysis found that students participating in College Summit increased their high school’s college enrollment rates by an average of 20 percent.

    Fewer than half of low-income students in the United States enroll in college, even when academically qualified to do so.

    College Summit helps students see their college potential, build relationships with colleges, and manage the application process.

    J.B. Schramm reminds partners that a college education breaks the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

    College Summit serves 50,000 students each year, who otherwise might lose the opportunity to transform their lives.

    Ambition for Change

    Market gaps that keep low-income students away from college will be closed, allowing all of America’s talent to shine.

    Path to Scale

    Program Growth and Partnerships

    College Summit is steadily expanding its programs through partnerships with more school districts, high schools, and colleges across the United states.

    A product of inner city schools in Denver, J.B. Schramm saw many of his peers not going on to college, even though colleges were eager to enroll students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Seeking to bridge this gap, J.B. became the director of a teen center in Washington, D.C. In 1993, he piloted the College Summit program, bringing four students to a college campus to identify where they might apply and complete their applications and essays with the guidance of college counselors. . Over the next few years he expanded on the idea, recruiting volunteer writing coaches and holding summer workshops for 140 students. 75 percent were accepted to colleges, giving J.B. the evidence he needed to found College Summit, Inc. The organization works to instill a college-going culture, provides data, and helps students build relationships with colleges and manage the application process. CS trains high school teachers to be college application managers and provides schools with a comprehensive curriculum and online tracking system to monitor student participation. Each school selects peer leaders from the junior class to participate in a four-day workshop at a college campus. Then, as veterans of the college application process, they inspire their peers to apply. CS also provides a comprehensive portfolio of “better than their numbers” college applicants to its partner colleges. At the time of the Award, CS had grown to serve about 5,000 students each year.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • College summit has grown to serve 50,000 students in 12 states each year.
    • Partner schools have increased their college enrollment rates by 25 percent.
    • Four out of five students selected by College Summit as peer leaders enroll in college.
    • Three quarters of College Summit students continue through the sophomore year, a key indicator of likelihood of earning a degree.


    Jo SmithPresident and Chief Operating Officer, College Summit
    Keith FromeCEO & Co-Founder, College Summit
    Michelle TafelChief Strategy & Advancement Officer, College Summit

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