Freeport's PossibilityU wins College Knowledge Grant- $100,000 for building FB app | People
Funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives opportunities to low income communities
In recognition of its ability to use technology and data to democratize the college admissions process, so that all students regardless of their socio-economic ability can have an equal opportunity for higher education, PossibilityU today announced it was awarded a College Knowledge Grant for up to $100,000 to develop a new Facebook application for college-bound students.
The grant comes as the result of being a finalist in the highly competitive College Knowledge Challenge. This initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by College Summit, Inc., was designed to award $2.5 million to create Facebook applications that make the college-going process more transparent, collaborative, and easy to navigate for low-income and first generation students. PossibilityU will initially receive 40 percent of the funds, and subsequent funding will be dependent upon its progress toward the end product. By linking with Facebook, the Challenge supports creative apps that utilize the unique capabilities of, and student interest in, the world’s largest social network.
PossibilityU's digital college admissions program is a natural fit for the grant. It simplifies the college search by combining a best practices college-counseling curriculum with powerful and innovative personal forecasting tools.
"We are thrilled to be a part of this Challenge. The grant will help us leverage data in the social graph to make the search for the right college more meaningful for college bound students. And, the collaboration with College Summit and the other winners will be a tremendous learning opportunity" said Betsy Peters, PossibilityU's CEO.
PossibilityU's existing tool set features a proprietary recommendation engine, using 78 different criteria to match student preferences, grades and test scores with the set of colleges that will best fit on three dimensions: Academic fit (level of challenge and match for aspirations), Social (campus feel, activities, etc) and Financial (opportunities for merit aid, cost of attendance, etc). Then, personal forecasting tools reveal a student’s chances of admission and grant aid and even recommend colleges that “feel like” a reach school, but where a student’s chances of admission would be markedly higher.
“We’ve designed PossibilityU to be a force multiplier for the high school guidance office - a supplemental program that offers each student the in-depth support that college counselors would if more staffing, time and funds were available,” said PossibilityU CEO Betsy Peters. “Based on US Department of Education statistics, the average student in a US high school gets less than an hour of one-on-one support to make this critically important decision. With PossibilityU schools can bring each student 10 hours of curriculum and a set of data-driven tools that puts more personalized information at their fingertips than the most seasoned veteran college counselor could just some 5 years ago. With this grant, we can more easily connect students with a peer and near-peer network that can assist along their path from college access through admission, persistence and degree attainment."
PossibilityU is an educational technology company dedicated to democratizing college access and success through personalization, context and transparency. Their Admission Toolkit is an online college guidance program that combines the expert knowledge of college admission specialists with behavior theory and persuasive technology to ensure students are intellectually ready for college - prepared to make the academic, social and financial choices that will set them up best to get a diploma in 4 years or less. Its unique dashboards provide parents, high school counselors and administrators with the data to manage and track the college admission process. PossibilityU is so powerful that the K-12 Technology group of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the world's leading education company, has included it among the learning apps it offers to schools across the US. To learn more about PossibilityU, visit www.possibilityU.com.