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Focus Area

Urban Pathways to College

We seek to increase the number of students from low-income households – recent high school graduates, people returning to college, or people attending college for the first time – who can access a high-quality postsecondary education.

By improving college access for more students, our primary goal is to increase the number of underrepresented students who are better able to access a college education and graduate with a quality postsecondary degree or certificate. We seek opportunities that help students from low-income households better navigate the college-entry process. We look to scale evidence-based college access efforts and to diversity business models of those entities that are successfully helping students reach a college campus. By ensuring that the pipeline of students entering post-secondary institutions includes all people, particularly underrepresented students, we believe we can address long-term attainment gaps.

Why We Do This Work

The potential cost of a college education, as well as the admissions and financial aid bureaucracies, can be daunting. Many of the students we seek to serve are the first in their families to attend college, and may not have a support system to clarify or ease the transition into college. More adults from low-income households are also attempting to begin or return to college after years in the workforce. Our strategy focuses on both populations, working to ensure students from low-income households and students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are well represented in the pipeline to college.

We focus our work on three special geographic interest areas:

  • The Kresge Foundation has three focus cities: Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans.
  • The Education Program has four focus states: California, Florida, Michigan and Texas.
  • The Education Program also partners with educational institutions in South Africa.
Kresge staff is working remotely, and our offices are closed until further notice.  See our promise to partners during COVID-19.
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