Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court made key decisions regarding affirmative action in college and university admissions and student loan forgiveness. While we are all still unsure of the full impact on higher education in both the long and short-term, all of us at Achieve Atlanta are committed to educational equity and our vision—that Atlanta be a city where race and income no longer predict postsecondary success and upward mobility.
We know how crucial our need-based scholarships, cross-sector collaboration, and college support services are for Atlanta’s students. Since our founding, we have helped send more than 5,000 students to college, providing over $44 million in scholarship support as we never want cost to be a deterrent in helping students earn a postsecondary credential. In addition to graduating at rates similar to peers of all income levels, Achieve Atlanta Scholars tend to graduate with less debt, in many cases well below the state average. Moving forward, we are excited about upcoming plans from the U.S. Department of Education including its commitment to better income-driven repayment plans, like SAVE, and other efforts to help students afford college.
Although we do not know yet how the affirmative action ruling will change admission practices at some colleges, Achieve Atlanta will continue to support students to find institutions that match their academic profiles and fit their personal, social, and financial needs and interests, which ultimately will increase their chances of earning a college degree. Ample research shows individuals with postsecondary credentials have better outcomes in life—including higher salaries and better health—than their peers with just a high school diploma. Achieve Atlanta and our partners will keep working together to remove all barriers so more students can earn a postsecondary degree and achieve these positive life outcomes.
I look forward to continuing to lead the Achieve Atlanta team as we navigate these policy changes keeping in mind our mission and vision for Atlanta’s students.