With over 10 years of experience, the results tell the story: 97 percent of CSF Achievers Scholars graduate high school and 68 percent graduate from college, success rates that offer a stark contrast to the national high school graduation and college degree attainment figures among low-income, underserved students.

CSF has awarded more than 6,500 scholarships to date and works with more than 14,500 students per year.

More than $110 million has been disbursed for scholarships in Washington State and the District of Columbia to date.


Improving high school graduation and college completion rates is essential for America's future. Nationally, just over two-thirds of all students graduate high school on time.(1) Of those who do go on to college, (2) a little more than 60 percent complete a bachelor's degree within six years.(3) The success rates among low-income, underserved (4) students are lower still. The on-time high school graduation rate for students of color - the only segment of the American workforce projected to grow -  (5) only slightly more than 50 percent (6) and the four-year college completion rate is significantly less than half (38.9 percent for African-Americans and 46.5 percent for Hispanics).(7) The percentage of all low-income young American adults who obtain a bachelor's degree is only about 10 percent.(8)

The figures are shocking. But fortunately, the issue of college completion has surfaced as a national priority. In 2009, President Obama set a goal to again make America first in the world in the percentage of adults with a postsecondary degree. Reaching this goal, especially among low-income students and students of color, is an exceptional challenge.

The College Success Foundation (CSF), as this report shows, is accomplishing the remarkable: showing dramatically increased high school graduation and college completion rates among low-income, underserved students. For over 10 years CSF has been dedicated to improving the odds for this vulnerable student population. In this time, they have developed a proven model of success for how to inspire low-income, underserved youth to graduate high school and complete a degree. With a unique integrated system of education supports and scholarships that work, CSF has succeeded in increasing degree attainment for underserved students. Unleashing America's Potential: The College Success Foundation 10th Anniversary Report presents very encouraging data in support of CSF's proven model of success, reporting that 97 percent of CSF Achievers Scholars graduate high school (9) and 68 percent of those who initially enroll in a four-year college graduate. The magnitude and impact of CSF's results can be fully understood when compared to the nation's dismal high school graduation and college completion rates.

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(1) Editorial Projects in Education (2009). Diplomas Count 2009. Education Week Vol 28, No 34. June 11, 2009.
(2) Two thirds of recent graduates in 2008 (68.6 percent) go to college. Snyder, T.D., and Dillow, S.A. (2010). Digest of Education Statistics 2009. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Accessed at
(3) NCES 2010. Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS). Accessed through DAS. This is the rate for 1996 students who had graduated by 2001. Low-income is defined as 185 percent of the poverty rate.
(4) Underserved is defined as first-generation students, foster youth, low-income students and students of color.
(5) The number of working-age Hispanics will jump 83 percent by 2020, and the number of working-age African-Americans will rise 23 percent. The percentage of whites in the workforce, meanwhile, will fall 3 percent. U.S. Census Bureau (2008). National Population Projections. DC: Author. Accessed at population/www/projections/summarytables.html.
(6) Editorial Projects in Education (2009).
(7) Knapp et. al. (2010). This is the six-year rate for students starting in 2002.
(8) Mortenson, T. (November 2009) Family Income and Educational Attainment Postsecondary Education Opportunity. Number 209. This source, defining low-income as the bottom quartile, gives the rate for bachelor's attainment by age 24 as 9.5 percent. Another report, NASH and Education Trust (2009). Charting a Necessary Course. DC: Author cites the rate as 10 percent.
(9) Achievers are chosen in the middle of their junior year, so this rate cannot be compared to four-year high school graduation rates.


College Success Foundation

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