Beyond 12’s vision is that one day, all students will have the opportunity to earn a postsecondary degree that allows them to provide for their families, contribute to society, and break the cycle of poverty for the next generation. Consequently, a student’s race, zip code, and parent’s level of education will no longer predict their college graduation outcomes or their future success.
To earn a degree that will allow them to change their economic and personal prospects, students from under-resourced communities need and deserve greater support—support that can help them maintain the momentum that has gotten them into college in the first place. This is where Beyond 12 comes in. We are a national technology-based nonprofit that aims to close the college degree divide between historically underrepresented students and their peers. Our hypothesis is that if students receive the right information, resources, and support at the right time, they can make more informed decisions that lead to completion and success. Additionally, if their institutions have access to rich data and actionable insights, they can not only better support their current students but also redesign their systems, so they are more accessible, affordable, equitable, and relevant.
Beyond 12 partners with high schools, college access and success organizations, and colleges committed to helping their students succeed in higher education. Organized around an evidence-based curriculum—including customized content on academic success, financial stability, accessing campus resources, achieving life balance, building social capital, and career planning—our digital coaching platform helps us identify and address the systemic and structural barriers students face before those challenges lead to attrition.
We offer our partners a comprehensive platform with three components:
Virtual Coaching: We hire full-time coaches who support students virtually (via video chat, text, phone, email, and social media) beginning the summer after their senior year of high school and typically lasting for their first two years of college. Coaches are “near peers,” and many are the first in their families to graduate from college. Hence, they understand firsthand the challenges students experience on their road to earning a college degree. Coaches interact with students for 30-minute sessions that occur bimonthly or monthly, depending on a student’s needs and risk profile, and help them navigate six key challenge areas: achieving academic, personal, and career goals; balancing school, work, life, and extracurricular activities; utilizing campus resources; understanding and accessing available financial resources; networking and building social capital; and planning for college graduation and career.
Mobile Coaching: Our campus-customized mobile app, MyCoach, reminds students of the activities, deadlines, and behaviors that lead to success, translating essential college tasks into actionable, bite-size steps. By delivering behavioral nudges to their smartphones, MyCoach helps students keep track of academic and financial aid deadlines, guides them through critical “to dos” and milestones, and encourages and rewards them for behaviors that are proven to lead to success. The app also includes evidence-based tips on navigating college and guides students toward faster completion. The content and nudges are strengthened over time by machine learning, drawing from coaching interactions, self-reported student data, and data provided by our partner institutions.
Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics: Our coaching tools are tied to a back-end analytics engine powered by machine learning, through which we collect and analyze student data. Trained on historical Beyond 12 student data, up-to-date institutional data, and a student’s performance data—and informed by student progress data captured in our mobile app and by Beyond 12 coaches—our model generates predictions of a student’s likelihood of re-enrolling in the next term. While most analyses in the field stop at predicting risk, we have also built a prescriptive model based on students’ behavioral and attitudinal characteristics that provides actionable insights about specific student risk areas and possible interventions to address students’ challenges. With these models, we can better predict which students need help and when, prescribe and provide the right type of support, and share actionable insights with our partners to help them better support students for success.
Beyond this product suite, we offer our high school and college access partners a student tracker, which allows organizations to collect, track, and analyze their alumni’s college and workforce data to evaluate the efficacy of their college-readiness models and inform future program design. By integrating personalized coaching with intelligent technology, we offer a comprehensive, data-driven retention solution to help students succeed in college and beyond.
OUR WORK WITH NCCPC
Beyond 12 is a proud member of NCCPC’s Steering Committee because we believe in the power of the collective – collective responsibility, collective action, and collective success. We know that if our students succeed, we all succeed, and in Northern California alone, there are so many impactful organizations dedicated to supporting students through college, career, and life. We are proud to work alongside passionate leaders who share our vision of ensuring that students not only earn college degrees but that they translate their degrees into meaningful employment and choice-filled lives. Whether it’s sharing lessons learned through communities of practice or partnering on data-sharing agreements with institutions of higher education or impacting policy so that we can remove the systemic barriers that stand in the way of student success, NCCPC is already having such a tremendous impact. Many are familiar with the old proverb, “if you want to go fast, travel alone but if you want to go far, travel together” and, for us, NCCPC is the embodiment of that principle.
WHAT COLLABORATION LOOKS LIKE
The Founder and CEO of Beyond 12, Alexandra (Alex) Bernadotte, is an NCCPC Steering Committee member. In this capacity, she partners with NCCPC staff and other Steering Committee members to support the design and implementation of NCCPC’s strategy, growth, and fundraising efforts.
Beyond 12’s Chief of Staff to the CEO and Senior Director, Katherine Zepeda, currently co-chairs NCCPC’s Campus Partnerships committee. The committee aims to establish strong partnerships with local higher education institutions to ensure that first-generation and historically underserved students can attend, succeed, and thrive at their institutions. By cultivating and leveraging these higher education partnerships, the committee hopes to better coordinate the resources and support that students need to persist and graduate.
Lastly, Beyond 12 is a proud supporter of the legislative efforts led by NCCPC, such as the advocacy to eliminate scholarship displacement through Assembly Bill 288.
GOALS FOR 2022 AND BEYOND
Guided by the question: “What if one million first-generation college students led a movement for educational equity to ensure that all students thrive in college and beyond?” we aim to both scale our coaching platform and activate our students to catalyze a movement to redesign our higher education institutions. To this end, we plan to:
Scale the reach of our digital coaching platform from 96,000 students today to one million students annually by 2030 by partnering with colleges and citywide college success initiatives. This will allow us to serve approximately 6% of all undergraduate college students and 18% of undergraduate students from under-resourced communities nationwide, making a sizable dent in college persistence and graduation rates. Students will receive a dynamic mix of mobile and virtual human coaching based on their needs, while administrators will receive actionable insights to help them fundamentally change their support systems for students of color and students from under-resourced communities. Over the next three years, we will launch this strategy by partnering with 2-year public institutions in California and Georgia, two states with a large concentration of first-time, full-time Pell-eligible students and in which we already have a strong footprint.
Activate our students to support and mobilize their classmates to develop strategies and approaches for transforming their campuses so they become more accessible, affordable, inclusive, and relevant to more students. Our ultimate goal will be to spark change makers across 40 college campuses that will serve as catalysts for systemic change. This approach responds to what we have heard from our students: they are prepared and eager to end the degree divide between them and their peers; lift themselves and their communities out of poverty; and change the way our higher education system engages and supports all students. Over the next three years, we will partner with our students and human-centered design firm, IDEO, to design and pilot several student activation initiatives at partner campuses in California and Georgia.
Our organizational goals are directly aligned with our vision for NCCPC; scaling our reach to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Northern California students earn college degrees that allow them to lead choice-filled lives while simultaneously working with students, institutions, and policymakers to redesign our higher education system, so it prepares ALL students to succeed and thrive in a global, technology-driven economy.