Do these students really need help? Aren’t they going to be fine without additional support?

If the goal is just to get them to graduate, they will generally be fine. Many of the students Noonan supports will graduate from college with or without Noonan Scholars. We graduate over 90% of our students, while approximately 80% of students fitting our profile would graduate without our program- a 20% increase. While that is not an order of magnitude difference, when only 4 out of the top 5 urban high school students earn their college degree, that is too low to declare mission accomplished.

For this group of students, graduation should not be the goal. These Scholars are in the best position to have meaningful careers as leaders in the most prominent business and civic institutions in the city and region. Yet for many, that does not happen.

Less than 1 in 2 attend a college that is as selective as one they can get into, often graduating with more debt and with lower career earnings potential than they should. Less than 1 in 4 who want to major in STEM or other rigorous majors are able to graduate in that major. Instead, these students enter college with inadequate math and writing skills, struggle academically during their first year, and are counseled to switch to less rigorous majors. Our goal for our Scholars is to achieve success in the career of their dreams, and that includes graduating with the degree, skills and experiences they need for that role. Our Scholars are talented, ambitious, and passionate. Their aspirations should not be derailed by a lack of academic preparation.

Not providing this group of students the supports they need to have these careers, supports available to students from affluent families and well-resourced schools, is not an option.

For more on this question, please see the Need and Our Impact pages. And for more information on the unique ways we support our students, please see the College Access & Prep and College to Career pages.