Helping youth turn their high school diplomas into college degrees
“Adulting” can seem overwhelming. College, career plans, finances…teens find there is a lot to learn as they prepare for graduation and life after high school. For those going through the college application process, it can be intimidating. Should I pursue a two-year or four-year degree? What does FAFSA even mean? If I can’t afford to pay for tuition out of pocket, how can I borrow wisely? Many high schoolers don’t have access to this kind of information, especially if they are the first in their family to attend college.
Whether to attend college, where to go and how to pay for it are all significant life decisions that Navient believes should not be made alone. In fact, recent findings from Navient’s student loan work in the community found that many young people and their families wish they had received better preparation ahead of making these critical decisions for their future.
Navient’s Money Under 35 study, conducted with Ipsos, explored the educational journeys of young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. The study examined participants’ level of financial knowledge and life challenges they faced during college in an effort to understand why some students still dropped out despite substantial investment of time and money. Unsurprisingly, the results showed that college graduates were more likely to be financially secure, obtain higher paying jobs, and be optimistic about future career prospects than those who never completed their college degree.
Other research we conducted showed that young people who began college with career goals in mind and who had caring adults as mentors were more likely to graduate.
Navient saw this as an opportunity to encourage success in college and wanted to help young people, regardless of their circumstances, gain access to resources that put them on track to reach their full potential.
Last year, Navient partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support the Clubs’ workforce readiness program, lending our expertise in post-secondary education and financial readiness to 4,600 Clubs nationwide. Through this partnership, Navient joined with other companies to sponsor an interactive career exploration program, using data on employment trends and real-life videos from people in various professions.
For young people who want to pursue a career that requires a college degree, we collaborated with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expand and enhance their well-established college-readiness program for high schoolers, Diplomas to Degrees, to include new paying-for-college resources.
Prior to adding these new digital resources, Diplomas to Degrees was an in-person program with a focus on guiding teens through high school graduation, developing both short- and long-term goals, and exploring post-secondary education through experiences like college tours. Informed by research and data, Navient helped add activities for teens to learn about college costs, understand financial aid, complete the FAFSA, learn how to find scholarships, and understand student loans. The program also helps Club members identify trusted adults who can guide them through their journey along with discussion guides and resources for caregivers.
Early feedback from the Clubs who have started using the new program is positive. “I absolutely love the new Diplomas to Degrees curriculum on MyFuture. I appreciate the input and guidance that Navient provided. The website is extremely user friendly and easy to navigate,” said Cherri Rowe, Chief Program Officer at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, where local Navient employees have also volunteered. “This will be a great item for teens to have as they are enrolling in college and preparing for the next phase of their educational or career journeys.”
Learn how to successfully turn diplomas into degrees today. Access Diplomas to Degrees on Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s MyFuture platform to build a college readiness squad, discover exclusive college planning tips, and more.
Arisha Syed is a communications specialist for Navient, a company that helps millions of Americans successfully manage their student loans.