Heights Graduation Celebration Honored 500+ Students 

Heights Philadelphia Announces 13 College & University Partnerships in Fall 2023, Including First Out-of-State Institutional Commitment 

Year one of Heights’ operation solidifies formal relationships with higher education institutions, furthering student access and support pathways to college, especially for Black, Brown and First-Generation scholars 

December 15, 2023 (Philadelphia)Heights Philadelphia (“Heights”) is pleased to announce 13 formal partnerships with colleges and universities committed to students and the organization’s bold vision that “all Philadelphia students graduate high school and achieve economic mobility through college and workforce success.” In December 2022, former education nonprofits Philadelphia Futures and Steppingstone Scholars merged to create Heights Philadelphia to better support more than 3,000 students in Philadelphia working to achieve their goals of college and career success. Following its first year of operation, Heights has formalized partnerships and agreements with 12 higher education institutions – many with previous, long-standing relationships with its founding organizations – to offer students exclusive opportunities, increased access and support, as well as affordability in the college application and enrollment processes. One exciting new development for Heights is its first out-of-state university partnership with Bentley University. 

“Following the Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down Affirmative Action, the formal partnerships with these 13 institutions sends a clear message to our students that they matter and are wanted on college and university campuses,” said Sara L. Woods, Esq., co-president, Heights Philadelphia. “Our students are talented. They are worthy of investment. Thank you to our wonderful partners who believe in our students and are stepping up to create the access, opportunity and affordability that can change the trajectory of our students’ lives.” 

“Investment in our young people is the foundational solution to address our cities biggest problems,” said Sean E. Vereen, Ed.D. co-president, Heights Philadelphia. “We need to think bigger and do better and it starts with our love for young people. These institutions are showing with their actions and partnerships with organizations like Heights that they are committed to making a better place for all of us. Thank you to our many partners who are making this investment in our youth and their dreams of college and career success.” 

In Fall 2023, Heights welcomes formal partnerships with the following colleges and universities:

Albright College, named a top national college and located in Reading, PA, was founded in 1856 and is home to engaging faculty who believe that the best academic moments are when students feel inspired and ready to take actions.

Arcadia University, located in Glenside, Pa., is a nationally, top-ranked private university. It is first in the state for study abroad and a leader in DEI efforts, placing students at the center.

Bentley University, recognized as one of the nation’s top business schools that works to create successful leaders who make business a force for positive change. The university is in Waltham, Ma. becoming Heights’ first out-of-state college partner. 

Bucknell University, a renowned highly-ranked national university that stands at the intersection of top-ranked liberal arts, engineering and management programs, giving students almost unlimited options to pursue their intellectual interests and passions.

Gettysburg College, a renowned residential, undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences located in Gettysburg, Pa. that prepares students to pursue lives of personal and professional fulfillment, effective leadership and socially responsible citizenship. 

Haverford College, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, is known for its academic rigor, Honor Code, and beautiful arboretum campus just outside Philadelphia. 

Juniata College, located in Huntingdon, Pa., the college works to provide personalized educational experiences empowering students to develop the skills, knowledge, and values to lead fulfilling lives of service and ethical leadership in the global community. 

La Salle University, a comprehensive Lasallian Catholic university located in Philadelphia, prepares students to become leaders through a liberal arts education by offering a quality, affordable experience, rigorous academics, transferable skills, and exposure to domestic and international partnerships in a safe and caring environment. 

Penn State University, Pennsylvania’s land-grant institution and largest public research university, strengthens its communities with inclusive access to world-class education, philanthropy, and engagement opportunities for students to learn, thrive, and do good around the world. 

University of Pennsylvania, ranked consistently among the top universities in the nation, the Ivy League institution located in Philadelphia is known for its longstanding reputation for excellence in graduate and professional education. 

St. Joseph’s University, a Jesuit Catholic University that borders Philadelphia and Lower Merion, Pa., the university offers a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. 

Temple University, Philadelphia’s public university, known as an international powerhouse in higher education and a top research institution that offers unparalleled value to families in the region and an essential resource to the surrounding community. 

Villanova UniversitySince 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. Villanova is conveniently located on 260 suburban acres, 12 miles west of Philadelphia.

Each institution’s partnership with Heights is unique to the school, but is focused on three pillars: 

  • Admissions: specifically aiding in the application process through collaboration and information sharing, but also aiding in the student’s exposure to campus including covering trips and visits, and offering expertise through staff training, student information sessions, and FAFSA assistance. 
  • Financial commitment: committing to the students that they will keep their total student debt under $27,000 through packages and subsidized offerings with minimal loans, while also offering access to funds for study abroad, work study, research, emergency funds, and transportation. 
  • Collaboration for student persistence: dedicated to helping students obtain their degree by identifying a point person to collaborate with Heights staff once the students are on campus and enrolled. In addition, committing to the students by offering two-way information sharing as needed including mid-semester warnings, registration holds, relevant events, crisis and resources. 

For more information about Heights College Partnerships and offerings, please visit: Heights.org.  

About Heights Philadelphia 

Heights is rooted in the bold vision that “all Philadelphia students graduate high school and achieve economic mobility through college and workforce success.” Heights’ work reflects a deep and abiding commitment to break the cycle of generational poverty, which has long challenged the City of Philadelphia, connecting students – especially Black, Latino, and first-generation scholars – with a network of people who believe, and invest in, their talents. Beginning in middle school, students receive access to academic, workforce, and college support to propel economic mobility. Serving more than 3,000 students in Philadelphia, Heights works with students to provide not only programming including one-on-one advising, academic enrichment, internship opportunities, and financial support – but also pathways to success through every step of their lives. For more information, visit Heights.org. Follow Heights on social media including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @HeightsPhilly