Evolution, Change, and the Future of Higher Education

by | Nov 2, 2020 | Insider

Now more than ever, we’re grateful to you, the real heroes behind the work we’re doing here at Inversant.

You’ve endowed, advocated for, and championed our mission. At a time when so much uncertainty abounds, we find encouragement in your ongoing support.

While much of the world feels upside down, we stay the course. As we head into November and the onslaught of holidays, we ask for your continued generosity and support.

In today’s update, learn how we’re taking an immediate and interactive approach to close opportunity gaps in higher education and how you can take action.

ADVANCEMENT UPDATES

2020 Inversant Scholarships

Low-to-moderate income students face unique challenges on their path to higher education. Each year, we see hundreds of thousands come up against barriers to college success.

While more are enrolling in college, many still don’t complete their bachelor’s degree. For at-risk students, this is due to:

  • Little preparation for unexpected expenses
  • Confusion over financial aid and scholarship options
  • Fear of taking on overwhelming student debt 

As a result, large gaps remain in educational achievement between students from low-to-moderate income families and their high-income peers. Those gaps, which already existed, have only magnified as the pandemic rages on. 

“It’s critical that we ensure low-to-moderate income students have every opportunity afforded their affluent peers. We cannot allow systemic inequality at every step of the college journey to hold students back.”

Yiming Shuang, Inversant COO

At Inversant, we know that increasing college opportunity for all students is more than an economic imperative, it’s a reflection of our values. That’s why we’ve sought to reach, inspire, and empower any student, no matter the demographic, since our start.

The latest in our Scholarship work is Cash for College.

During the pandemic, we moved rapidly to address the increased economic hardships faced by our families. In September, we launched Inversant’s Cash for College, a need and risk-based scholarship. We received an overwhelming number of applications! 

With over 4500 people applying in a 48 hour period, the urgent need for support was clear and dire. Early data shows that respondents included:

  • 57% independent students
  • 42% working more than 16 hours a week
  • 78% attending college full-time
  • 54% adult learners aged 25 – 45

While we continue to work through preliminary findings, one thing is certain. The Coronavirus has compounded the negative financial effects on low-to-moderate income families and forced students to make very difficult decisions.

  • 89% reported facing work and employment-related issues
    • Many applicants lost their jobs, were forced to stop working due to COVID-19 shutdowns or saw their hours significantly reduced.

That’s why we need your help. Will you:

  • Spread the word and share how your community can support Inversant Scholarships? With your helping hand, Inversant Scholarships make it possible for families to not only get their students into school but graduate with a degree.
  • Save the date for November 19th? This will be a fun, celebratory, and engaging evening where you can meet, interact with, and learn more about the Inversant community and the families we serve. We’d love to see you there!

Inversant Insights

An examination of wealth in the U.S. shows the deep inequalities faced by Black Americans. From earning gaps to student loan debt, the disparity is staggering.

In our latest Inversant Insights, host Dr. Charles Desmond tackled this complex topic with guests Jaime Ramirez-Mendoza and Jillian Berman. 

Jaime is a policy analyst on The Education Trust’s higher education policy team, where he works with partners and experts to advance equitable policies around college affordability and student success at the federal, state, and institutional levels.

Jillian is an award-winning reporter at MarketWatch, where she specializes in student debt and the economics of education. She is one of the few reporters fully dedicated to covering the nation’s $1.3 trillion in student-loan debt. 

Her work illuminates how student debt burdens a wide swath of Americans, and how these loans affect individual and macroeconomics. 

Watch the replay where together they discussed:

  • The history of systemic racism in credit and wealth-building
  • How college debt has exacerbated the racial wealth gap
  • How student debt and the racial wealth gap reinforce one another

This episode was brought to you by Acadian Asset Management. We thank them for their generous and consistent support!

Be on the lookout for our upcoming episode in November, “Can we close the racial equity gaps in higher education?” Date to be announced!

PROGRAM UPDATES

2020 Financial Aid Course

When the pandemic struck, we pivoted to the remote delivery of our programs. We put current workshops on hold and instead focused on the transition to online courses. 

This ensured that current families could still access training, but also allowed for growth opportunities.

Within this process, we identified the two most important topics for families pursuing college:

We chose to adapt our current content into new online workshops first. Both will get delivered in a highly-accessible and scalable remote delivery format. 

We’ll launch our first course, Financial Aid in the first part of November and follow with our second course, FAFSA in December.

Do you know someone who’s looking to:

  • Find financial aid, grants, scholarships, and loans?
  • Reduce their college costs and out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Needs financial assistance to support their college dreams?

Send them our way! Inversant courses will give them the skills, tools, and guidance they need to succeed.

BOARD UPDATES

It’s election season! Inversant elected new officers at this year’s October 14 Annual Board meeting. As a part of Inversant’s transition from a founder-driven to a community-led and funded organization, we are strengthening our leadership structure.

We’re thrilled to announce the appointments of officers for 2021. Officers will begin their terms on January 1. 

  • Chair of the Board: Dr. Charles Desmond
  • Vice-Chair of the Board: Ruth Moorman
  • Secretary: Laurent De Greef
  • Treasurer: Ben Hildreth

Inversant is moving forward as a stronger, more diverse organization, and the commitment from our Board of Directors to our mission is inspiring. 

But that’s not all! Inversant is also proud to announce two new members to the board of directors. 

Angela Ervin and Donna Stewartson were elected to the Board at the Annual Meeting. Please join us in extending a warm welcome! We are looking forward to accomplishing great things together.

CONGRATULATIONS

We’re thrilled to announce that Yiming Shuang, Inversant CEO was chosen for the prestigious, “The Partnership’s Next Generation Executive Program.”

Admission into NGE’s program is highly-competitive and deeply coveted as the top-tier executive development programs.

“All of our organizations will benefit from this relationship, shared knowledge, and trust. Thank you to The Partnership’s Next Generation!”

Yiming Shuang, Inversant COO

Please join us in wishing her well with this terrific group. We’re excited both for her and for Inversant as we all grow together. 

Congratulations, Yiming!

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Inversant Insights

Inversant Insights is a 5-part live video series dedicated to uncovering inequality and exposing inequity in higher education. 

This monthly series streams live to Facebook and Twitter, putting you at the front and center of our community of families, board members, donors, and more. 

Thank you to Acadian, our sponsor on October 8th. Watch the replay, “Is Student Debt a Social Justice Issue?”

We only have one episode left in December that’s available for sponsorship at $5,000.

These are highly visible events with long-lasting reach. Sponsoring an episode is the perfect way to make a stand for education and equity. For details on the benefits of sponsorship, please contact Christine Jauregui.

YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT

If you’ve felt a deep desire to support cause-based organizations during the pandemic, you’re not alone. A study shows that almost half of U.S. households gave money to a charitable organization over the last 6 months.

That’s empowering and inspiring news as we seek to make the biggest impact possible in the lives of more families than ever before. And with your help, we’re doing exactly that.

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to helping Inversant families. We are so fortunate to have you by our side! 

Together, we’re accelerating program delivery, architecture, and accessibility to serve low-income families at risk of giving up on their college dreams.

Share our story with others!

Help us spread the word about the important work we’re doing.