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Uversity

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CHALLENGE

Community college students’ persistence differed from that of their four-year college peers. College education is the gateway to economic opportunity. However, less than 50% of low-income students who enter college complete a degree. Affinity to one’s peers and institution drives persistence, but is more difficult for part-time and non-resident students.

PROGRAM STRATEGY

Supporting a system where low-income young adults have access to affordable, high quality post-secondary education. We aim to discover if social media can create a “virtual campus community” to build friendship support networks and campus affinity for community college students. We're also studying whether or not a “virtual campus community” will make community college students more likely to complete a degree with labor-market value in a timely manner.

PARTNER

Uversity, Inc. (formerly Inigral)
Early-stage company with seven college customers and ~$100k in revenue

Foundation focus: “School on Facebook” app provided a professional, safe environment for incoming community college students to interact with peers

INVESTMENT

Series B Preferred Equity
Date: December 2010
Co-investors: Retro Venture Partners and Founders Fund
Associated funding: Attendant grant to community colleges to implement a social media strategy; worked with researchers from the University of Arizona to study Uversity’s impact on student persistence

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