• Helping Low-Income Students Navigate College
    October 16, 2019

    A small but growing band of elite college prep programs is garnering success by turning themselves into one-stop shopping outlets, offering their students, over the span of many years, the same high-end support as their upper-middle-class peers. The hallmark of all of these programs is a disheartening reality: Students, no matter how capable, who attend low-performing high schools are often held to lower standards that make success in college nearly out of reach.

  • 19 Undergraduates Complete the 2019 Summer Research Program at Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

    Nineteen undergraduates who are interested in a career in biomedical science completed the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK). The highly competitive program gives outstanding college students the opportunity to perform hands-on research in cutting-edge biomedical research laboratories at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, sponsors SURP, a ten-week research program for outstanding undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in the biomedical sciences.

  • UPS, Mastercard, Etsy, Brightside, Arizona State University, and Acorns Join BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative
    October 4, 2019

    UPS, Mastercard, Etsy, Brightside, Arizona State University, and Acorns will join BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative to help their employees, customers, gig workers, and college students take the essential first step towards long-term financial well-being. With nearly 40% of Americans lacking enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense without selling something or borrowing money, BlackRock’s flagship philanthropic initiative aims to help one million people establish a financial safety net. Each partner participating in the Initiative will work with experts from Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth, and/or the Financial Health Network, three nonprofits focused on consumer financial health. Funded by BlackRock’s previously announced $50 million philanthropic commitment, the nonprofits will work with these organizations to build, test, and pilot custom solutions. Proven innovations will be used, such as behavioral nudges, prize-linked savings, rounding up transactions or rounding down deposits, and percent-based automatic savings transfers aligned with income.

  • Gerstner Family Foundation Attends 2019 #RealCollege Convening
    October 4, 2019

    Sarah Persily, our Program Director, was invited to participate in this year’s #RealCollege Convening in Houston, TX. #RealCollege is a national movement, focused on the struggles of modern-day students, seeking to change the landscape of higher education to ensure all students can afford their studies and complete their degrees. The movement is led by Sara Goldrick-Rab and her colleagues at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Their two-day annual convening assembles students, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and activists to raise awareness, develop strategies and take action to secure students' basic needs. In addition to attending a number of illuminating and powerful sessions addressing student experiences and the overall struggles they face, Sarah spoke on a panel highlighting the impact of emergency aid for college students, where she discussed the benefits and challenges of our student emergency fund programs. Sarah also got to hear directly from staff currently administering or who are interested in implementing emergency grant programs at their college to better understand the challenges that they encounter. Video of the Emergency Aid panel, along with video of many of the other informative sessions, are available at the Hope Center’s vimeo page:

    Watch #RealCollege Emergency Aid Panel at
  • We Need More Doctors Who Are Scientists
    September 25, 2019

    Unfortunately, the career path of the physician-scientist has become longer and a lot less appealing. In the United States, about 20,000 graduates emerge from medical school each year, many with significant debt. Many physicians are well into their 30s by the time they complete their clinical training. Doctors who decide to take the research path face the daunting prospect of many more years struggling to win grants and establish a lab. According to N.I.H. statistics, researchers with medical degrees on average receive their first major N.I.H. grant only at age 45. Recognizing the problem, the National Institutes of Health’s Physician-Scientist Workforce report, published in 2014, laid out a road map to address it. Nonetheless, the number of young doctors pursuing research continues to wane.