Upswing Focuses on Reducing Equality Gap Among College Students Around the Country
Austin, TX (PRUnderground) January 17th, 2019
Upswing, an education technology startup, is leading the charge to improve student success through increased college support and accessibility for students of all types, with a special focus on serving non-traditional and diverse populations.
Partnered with more than 80 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Upswing’s platform empowers 700,000 students to excel academically.
Now with recent grant funding from world-class organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Rethink Education, and the United Way, Upswing will result in 50,000 retained college students by the year 2020.
Upswing has already helped retain 22,200 students towards its goal.
Dubbed the ‘Upswing 2020 Vision,’ according to Upswing’s co-founder and CEO Melvin Hines, “We focus every day on reducing the equality gap among college students. We’re impatient optimists working toward equal educational opportunity.”
Hines says that working with these outstanding organizations feeds their understanding of the issues and influences how they can remove barriers to higher education.
Hines points out that today in the U.S., less than half of all students who enter college ultimately earn a degree.
“We’ve focused the last three years on learning why students don’t graduate and what can be done to improve retention,” says Hines.
Initial results have been promising.
Students with access to Upswing are 10 percent more likely to stay in college.
Upswings’ solutions include 24/7 online tutoring in the Virtual Learning Center and an SMS-based virtual assistant that answers questions, sends reminders, schedules sessions, and acts as a mass communication tool to reach students on their phones.
Also, an easy-to-use dashboard for administrators aggregates and summarizes usage data to track student performance (even creating alerts or reminders), giving administrators in-depth knowledge to make informed decisions around student success and retention.
Built Around Student’s Lifestyle
Upswing’s student success solutions are built around the students’ lifestyle.
Hines says the traditional college student, the late-teens to early-twenties, living on campus, a full-time student who is financially dependent on their parents, no longer represents a majority of students attending college.
Modern college students are “non-traditional,” and often have full-time or part-time jobs, ranging from teens to retirees, first generation or international, taking online classes or blended curriculum, and are financially independent or have children.
“The key to reaching non-traditional students is by expanding the ways colleges engage and support all students,” says Hines.
Through Upswing’s virtual assistant, Ana, the minute a student enrolls in college they are provided free online tutoring and advising support, including FAFSA and registration reminders.
“Our initial findings indicate that students are 5 to 10 times more likely to engage with Ana than they are to interact with traditional email outreach because Ana reaches them where they are,” says Hines. “Traditional methods are not effective for non-traditional students.”
Support Methods Must Adapt
“Upswing can also help administrators make the most of the resources that a college already offers,” says Hines. “We can drive engagement to existing programs, by approaching students in new ways.”
Upswings focus on enhancing administrator’s efforts keeps costs and process changes to a minimum.
This includes providing online methods of accessing student services like advising, tutoring, and writing support through smart recommendations from the virtual assistant, Ana.
“To reach our Upswing 20/20 Vision, we must continue to understand the reasons why students don’t stay in college and provide them with an option that’s better than dropping out,” adds Hines.
Learn how Upswing can enhance your college’s student services at https://upswing.io/demo/
Use the ROI Calculator to see how much Upswing can save your school at https://upswing.io/roi-calculator/
Upswing is an Austin, Texas-based educational technology startup removing the barriers to degree equality. Learn more about Upswing at https://upswing.io/Press Contact
Original Press Release.