This post was originally published on Defender Network

By Laura Onyeneho

If you are a Houston area school district looking to send high-achieving students to the nation’s best colleges and universities here is your chance.

EMERGE, Houston-based college access organization wants to partner with two new school districts in the area to empower and prepare students from low-income communities to apply to their program.

Their mission is to eliminate barriers and build systems to ensure students are equipped with the resources, tools, and support needed to attend the best higher education institutions. EMERGE addresses the “undermatching” phenomenon in which 25% of high achieving students from underserved communities choose to apply to the nation’s most selective schools, despite having the qualifications to attend. This could keep them from accessing full financial need scholarships, extensive support services, and higher graduation rates.

Photograph courtesy of EMERGE.

“Typically, our partnership focus on school districts in Houston that supports students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, and who are either looking to increase their post-secondary outcomes or who already have a strategic plan that supports post-secondary success,” said Whitney Gouché, vice president of programs at EMERGE. “We are hosting a RFI (Request for Information) session, so any interested district can go to our website to fill out a short form telling us who they are and why they think a partnership with Emerge would be beneficial, or if they are curious to learn more about EMERGE.”

EMERGE recently embarked on a $56 million growth and operating campaign aimed at doubling the numbers of students receiving college access and support by 2027. By Fall 2023 the organization hopes to start operating a two new school districts in the area.

So far EMERGE supports more than 3000 students across five school districts, Houston ISD, Spring ISD, Spring Brand ISD, Aldine ISD, and Klein ISD.

“What makes us unique is our focus on selective colleges that meets a family’s full demonstrated need, our district partnership model to reach the most talented students across the city, and our opportunities for one-on-one advising, test prep, and college tours,” Gouché said.

Houston-area districts leaders can visit to learn more about the program.