Only one-in-ten low-income students can expect to earn a bachelors degree in 4-6 years. However, every year, approximately five million low-income, high-achieving students across the United States drop out of college. Four million of those drop out due to financial concerns of less than $1,500 in expenses. Often, these students are the first in their family to go to college and can’t always rely on their parents for guidance through the process of financial aid, choice of school, orientation, and more.
For many Americans, aspirations of college bring many financial concerns and stress. When students have to deal with financial stress, on top of studying for exams, working an extra job, and trying to manage a social life, it can be entirely overwhelming. As a result, financial stress leads many students, no matter how motivated they are, to drop out.
Moneythink believes that providing reliable guidance through tough financial and college decisions to students interested in higher education is the best way to ensure they stay in school and succeed. With an unprecedented model, Moneythink meets students where they are to provide the most effective resources and guidance with the highest potential for impact.
When students are navigating the FAFSA process, choosing between scholarship opportunities, or even just organizing required health forms to send to the school, Moneythink is available right at a student’s fingertips to answer questions and demystify the college process. Their unique program model is based on behavioral science with insights on when and how to prevent financial stressors from escalating. The text message based remote coaching approach allows participants to adopt healthy habits, manage finances, and prepare for their college experience. Moneythink walks alongside students in high school, leading up to college, and throughout their freshman year, helping to connect them to the best support and local resources available to keep them on the path to graduation.
In 2009, Moneythink CEO and founder Ted Gonder—recognizing the vast disparities in incomes between the affluent and poor, particularly in communities of color—decided that he could mobilize campus resources and provide mentorship to assist at-risk youth in overcoming financial difficulty. What began as a relationship-based volunteer program model that connected college mentors to high school students, evolved into what Moneythink is today: a national organization providing cost-free, reliable guidance to students navigating the maze of college enrollment and financial decisions. Knowing the benefits of technology as a means of social change, Moneythink has adapted a mobile communications model to reach more students in more cities, more effectively.
Moneythink is a 2017 S+ Catalyst. Through participation in the Catalyst Program, Moneythink receives training from industry experts in organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships to amplify their impact and strategically expand their reach across the country.