Our Impact

The records of South Central and Noonan Scholars demonstrate that a rigorous, holistic program guiding Scholars from their junior year in high school to their first job can make a dramatic difference. Our impact is twofold:


More Students Attend Top Colleges

Nationally, less than 1 in 2 low-income students of color attend a college that is as selective as one they can get into.1 Selective colleges offer smaller class sizes, higher student satisfaction rates, more robust support, and better financial aid.

However, many low-income students are unaware they can qualify for admission to selective colleges.  They might apply only to local schools with familiar names, or otherwise fail to exhaust all their opportunities.  Students end up graduating from college with lower qualifications and earnings potential, and with more student debt.

With SCS Noonan Scholars:
  • 80% of our Scholars will enroll in top 100 colleges, compared to less than 50% for similar students nationally.
  • These scholars have better access to no-loan or low-loan financial aid packages in their chosen colleges.

More Students Excel At Top Colleges

Less than 1 in 4 low-income students color who intend to major in STEM or other rigorous majors are able to persist and graduate in that major2 Even top low-income students can enter college with academic deficits in math, science, and writing, causing them to perform poorly in gateway classes for STEM and other challenging majors.  Many switch to less rigorous majors, or fail to graduate

With SCS Noonan Scholars:
  • 90% of our Scholars graduate from college within six years. Similar students graduate at a rate of 80%.3
  • Summer Academy participants’ average freshman year GPA was 3.3 compared to 2.9 for non-participants
  • Summer Academy participants were 50% more likely to earn an A in college calculus, while non-participants were 60% more likely to receive a D or F.
  • Our Scholars will graduate from college with at least a 3.2 overall GPA, having held at least one paid or career-related internship experience and with a major that allows them to pursue their chosen career.
  • 72% of Summer Academy participants were able to persist in STEM and other rigorous majors, compared to less than 20% of similar students.
  1. Smith, J., Pender, M., & Howell, J. ( 2013). The full extent of student-college academic undermatch. Economics of Education Review, 32, 247–261.
  2. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2015 Jun 1; 14(2): ar12. 22.1% of Latino and 18.4% of black students completed their STEM degrees.
  3. Andrew Howard Nichols, 2015: “The Pell Partnership: Ensuring a Shared Responsibility for Low-Income Student Success” Download Paper Nationally, 70% of Black and Hispanic students graduate from the nation’s highly selective schools, and 89% of those students graduate from the most selective schools.