Despite an improvement in the percentage of minority high school students enrolling in college after graduation, the increase is still minimal and not at pace with the challenging global economic environment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 12.5 percent of Latino and 14 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in a four year college within 12 months of graduation, compared to 62.3 percent of white students in 2009. These figures are even more disturbing when considering enrollments at the most competitive schools. It’s a critical issue that can’t be ignored—the future of corporate America depends on an educated workforce. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) recognized a growing need to address the talent pipeline issue and launched the Impact program in 2008.
“So far, [college] has been the best two and half years of my life. It has introduced me to so many different people; it has changed the way I think…It has exposed me to things I would have never been exposed to,” said Prince Debrah,
Impact provides high-performing African-American and Latino high school students with tools and strategies for navigating the college planning process and career exploration. This 15-month program is part of PwC’s corporate responsibility commitment to cultivate the next generation of diverse leaders in the marketplace.
“Impact has instilled those values of going out there and networking and making sure that you are trying to find your
passion and what you want to do,” said Impact Scholar Leandra Stewart.
Impact Scholars are selected through a competitive application process that includes an in-person interview. After being accepted, Scholars participate in monthly workshops that help them navigate the college admissions process—exploring academic options, crafting an exceptional essay, learning how to be distinctive in a college application, and much more.
Impact is designed to equip scholars with mentoring support to help them create education strategies; exposure to
careers in the accounting profession; a broader awareness of academic and professional options; and information for
navigating the college-planning and financial-aid processes.
With college tuition costs rising, financial aid remains a major factor in college decisions. Impact Scholars and their parents participate in a comprehensive workshop dedicated solely to paying for college. On average, Impact scholars received $30,000 in scholarships and grants from the college he or she attended.
Impact Scholars work in cohorts with fellow students and high-performing PwC employees that serve as mentors. PwC
mentors assist students throughout the college planning process, sharing their experiences and providing exposure to career paths.
“Serving as an Impact Mentor gave me an opportunity to not only give back to the community in which I do business,
but to share my experiences and lessons I’ve learned with students who can soak up that knowledge,” said Andrew
Barclay, Impact Mentor.
And results are impressive. 100 percent of Impact graduates have matriculated to colleges and universities nationwide—nearly 300 students to date. 58 percent of the colleges and universities that accepted Impact graduates from 2009-2011 are recognized as “most and more selective” by U.S. News & World Report. Collectively, Impact Scholars have been offered more than $15 million in scholarships and grants from all accepted schools.