About Us

Leaders in College Access & Completion

College Now was the nation’s first college access organization and served as a model for peer organizations across the country. Our work remains an example of best practice in college access work. We collaborate and innovate to deliver cutting-edge college access programming to students of all ages. Our expertise has allowed us to secure highly competitive federal grants that enable us to expand and deepen our services in Northeast Ohio.

The Higher Education Compactof Greater Cleveland

In 2010, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson spearheaded the creation of the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland (the Compact), a collective effort involving 70 partners from key sectors: government, public education, higher education, philanthropic, civic and youth-serving organizations. Grounded in the knowledge that bachelor’s degree attainment is one of the top predictors of economic competitiveness and that Cleveland is not producing sufficient numbers of adequately credentialed young people, Compact partners developed six-year goals for increasing high school graduation, college enrollment and college completion.

College Now is an active partner in the Compact. CEO Lee Friedman sits on the executive committee, and College Now acts as the fiscal agent for the Compact. Additionally, a number of College Now staff participate on the Compact’s Operations Committee.

Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools

As a strategic partner of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), College Now is invested in the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools. The goal of the Cleveland Plan is to ensure that every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and that every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can chose. The Cleveland Plan’s four-part strategy includes:

  • Growing the number of high-performing District and charter schools in Cleveland and closing and replacing failing schools;
  • Focusing the District’s central office on key support and governance roles and transferring authority and resources to schools;
  • Creating the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to ensure accountability for all public schools in the city; and
  • Investing and phasing in high-leverage system reforms across all schools, from preschool to college and career.

College Now’s CEO serves on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Transformation Alliance, and, with advisors embedded within each CMSD high school as well as several middle schools, the organization is committed to ensuring that students are prepared for college and career.

Gear Up

College Now partners with the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Department of Education to administer the state’s seven-year GEAR UP grant. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, GEAR UP, is a program aimed at helping at-risk students at four state-wide sites prepare for and achieve success in college. College Now provides technical assistance to all four Ohio sites and delivers services in middle schools and high schools in Parma, in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College West and the Parma City School District.

This is the third GEAR UP grant in which College Now has participated. The most recent grant was from 2006-2011 in Elyria schools and proved to be a success, with a 36 percent increase in the percentage of students testing at or above grade level in English Language Arts and a 33 percent increase in the percentage of students testing at or above grade level in mathematics. Additionally, the graduation rate at Elyria High School increased nearly nine percentage points, and the college-going rate among Elyria High School graduates increased 11 percentage points over the duration of the grant. Prior to that, College Now participated in the first Ohio GEAR UP grant, which ran from 1999-2006.

Ohio AmeriCorps College Guides Program

Since 2014, College Now has been the fiscal agent for the Ohio AmeriCorps College Guides program. As such, College Now submits grants to the federal government for funding of the program and manages 70 AmeriCorps College Guides in nine statewide locations. Additionally, College Now provides college access training for all 70 AmeriCorps members, including the ones serving in Cleveland. The AmeriCorps Ohio College Guides program places fresh college grads into middle schools, high schools and community

centers to help guide traditionally underserved young people and get them the information and knowledge they need and deserve to prepare for, access and complete a postsecondary credential. The College Guides is a corps of driven and highly-qualified professionals getting a start in education whom students can relate with, confide in, and eventually emulate as they are guided in planning for their future and taking constructive steps toward successful completion of their goals.

Upward Bound

Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. College Now delivers Upward Bound programming at Shaw High School in East Cleveland. Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

Talent Search

The goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education. The program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue on to and complete their postsecondary education. College Now delivers Talent

Search programming in the following Cleveland Metropolitan School District middle and high schools: Wilbur Wright Middle School and Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School, which are feeder schools for John Marshall High School; Patrick Henry Middle School, the feeder school for Glenville High School; and Charles Eliot Middle School, the feeder middle school for John F. Kennedy High School, E3agle Academy and PACT Academy.