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College Access: Tilt

Tilt helps students find affordable higher education options that fits their family and financial situations.

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In the fall, we project student’s expected net price to ensure they apply to affordable options. Then, in the spring, using text recognition software, we analyze high school seniors financial aid packages and help them compare across their choices, looking at their costs, private aid, loans, and scholarships. Every year, we feed this data from financial aid packages back into our models and algorithms to ensure that our projections for the next fall are even more accurate.

What is the need are you focusing on?

With the costs of college are growing every year, college is now unaffordable for most Americans. We are focused on helping under-resourced students, which includes students of color, first-generation college students, and students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, access higher education. With a national average of 430 students to 1 counselor, these students have counselors that are overworked and don’t receive the personalized advice that takes into account family and financial situations that they need to be successful. Even though 58% of low-income students enroll in college, only 18% graduate in 6 years, and 40% of these students drop out because of the unexpected financial burdens of attending college. Then, these students are stuck with student loans but don’t even have a college degree to access better job prospects. We believe that student loans will continue to be one of the most important issues in the United States.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

As a result of the pandemic crisis and recession, we are focusing on helping students find affordable higher education options. We have already started working on this by analyzing students’ financial aid packages to help them compare across their options, looking at their expected costs, private aid, loans, and scholarships. We now want to add more services in the fall to help students complete financial aid forms and to use our analytics to project the expected net price of colleges. This will ensure that students are applying to affordable colleges that also fit their criteria.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

Higher education provides unparalleled access to social mobility for many young people in our society. These young people are currently in an important inflection point in their life trajectories, and we believe that we need to come together to ensure that this pandemic doesn’t leave a lasting impact on these young peoples’ path forward. We have already started implementing this solution through an MVP this Spring. This funding will allow us to build a more scalable software product to help schools in Fall of 2020. We will continue to work with under-resourced communities, who need the most support during this time. We already have partnerships with public high schools and college access nonprofits who want to use our services next year. As we build our product, we will continue to leverage these relationships to ensure that we are building something that focuses on students and communities.

What is the name of your business or organization?


What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Our company helps students access affordable higher education options that fit their family and financial situations. We work with counselors from public high schools and college access nonprofits in under-resourced communities to supplement their expertise. Many times, these students have unique financial situations that counselors need help providing personalized support for. We also offer our services for free to any student who signs up on our website. We are committed to increasing access to higher education and ensuring that young people can live financially-stable lives.

What is your profession?

I am currently a graduate student pursuing an MBA.

Where are you located (country)?

United States

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Education

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 1-2 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • No

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Currently, our business model requires schools and college access nonprofits to pay a small annual subscription fee per student signed up for our service. We do believe that our services are now more needed than ever before due to this financial crisis. However, schools will struggle with severely limited budgets as a result of this crisis. Other than that, we believe we have already addressed the other barriers that would have lied in our path. We have tested our product with students, families, and community members and have received great feedback. We have also started collecting the information we need to achieve our goals.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We started reviewing financial aid award letters this spring, and we learnt that many schools don’t even include the cost of attendance on their letters. We learnt that our services are extremely helpful. We receive high NPS scores, and students are continually coming back to access our reports. However, with our MVP, we have a lot of steps that students need to take to sign up for our services. As a result, we want to launch our own software product to reduce the friction students face. We also realized that we need to expand our services to truly address the problem. Many times, when students are making decisions in Spring, they only have a few choices to choose from, and sometimes, none of these options are affordable. As a result, we want to work with students before they apply to college to ensure that they are choosing affordable options.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

No, I am not aware of any collaborative efforts related to my solution.

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