10,000 Degrees: Help Students Get to and Through College
10,000 Degrees is an access and success nonprofit which strives to help students get to and through college. The organization serves students in the North Bay from low-income backgrounds. They help with college planning, applying for state and federal financial aid, and encouraging attendance at college-focused events. 10,000 Degrees uses Signal Vine to foster communication between staff and counselors and the high school and college students they serve.
As its programs expanded, 10,000 Degrees struggled to continue providing support to students. Right around 40 full-time staff members support more than 6,200 students and families. With the increase in the number of students, 10,000 Degrees hired more staff. As the organization grew, it became clear that it needed a more efficient way for staff to continue to provide support to students.
Students provide their contact information when they apply to a 10,000 Degrees program. Then, staff add this information to the Signal Vine platform. On average, staff serve 1,600 students over text each year by 20+ counselors. Staff use student information to create personalized text messages that are targeted to specific groups of students based on need. Also, they always keep the Signal Vine platform open in a tab on their computers because they use it so frequently to communicate with students.
10,000 Degrees uses Signal Vine to maintain the high level of support they had when they were a smaller organization. The number of students who began at a community college then transferred and graduated with a bachelor’s degree is almost three times the national average. Staff report that students are most responsive to less robotic language and shorter messages.
Often, students ask questions about FAFSA, new systems like student portals, and what to expect at college. Usually, younger students want to know more about the internal workings of college. At the same time, older students have more specific advising concerns. The highest engagement and response rates were for text messages related to financial aid forms and upcoming deadlines.
Texting can help students get to and through college
10,000 Degrees alumni benefit from personal support, academic counseling, and financial aid assistance as they navigate the college journey. The program is successful in its approach to help students get to and through college. Here are some powerful statistics about college grads:
- 86% of 10,000 Degrees four-year college students earn bachelor’s degrees, compared to 31% nationally.
- 10,000 Degrees students take our smaller loans than the national average.
- 10,000 Degrees college alumni are more likely to vote, more likely to volunteer and earn over $1 million more in their lifetimes.
Signal Vine reinforces what we already knew: texting students is the most effective way to reach them.
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