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The Neediest Students Couldn't Afford His Help, So This Test-Prep Prodigy Stepped Up

College Spring, started by a tutoring entrepreneur, helps low-income kids improve their SAT scores.

Garrett Neiman knows first hand the difference an improved SAT score can make—he increased his own SAT from 2000 to a perfect 2400, and began a SAT tutoring business while he was in college at Stanford. But he soon saw that the students who needed his help the most were those least able to afford it, so with co-founder Jessica Perez, he started the non-profit CollegeSpring in 2008, two years before he graduated. CollegeSpring helps low-income high school students—whose scores tend to begin at about 300 points lower than other students—through diagnostic tests, mentoring, and classes.

As Neiman points out in a column for Forbes, a few points difference on the SAT can determine whether or not a low-income student is accepted into a four-year institution, where statistics show they are much more likely to graduate than if they attend a community college. While in college, low-income students are less likely to be able to place out of entry-level courses through their SAT scores, making earning enough credits to graduate more difficult for them. People who earn bachelor’s degrees make an average of $800,000 more in a lifetime than those with only high school diplomas. He gives the example of a young woman he tutored named Neda, whose family was low-income and didn’t realize SATs were required for many college applications. Neda learned how important SATs are, brought her scores up and went to UCLA, where she’s now applying to medical schools.

Source: Forbes

Jenny Shank is a fiction writer and journalist in Boulder, Colo. Her first novel, “The Ringer,” won the High Plains Book Award. Her stories, essays, satire and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, McSweeney's and The Guardian.