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When Melvin Hines, Jr., graduated high school in a small town in Georgia, he was disappointed to see that only 68 of his 250 classmates had also received their diplomas. Determined to empower students through higher education, Hines co-founded Upswing in 2013. The Austin, Texas-based ed-tech startup provides an online service that connects students attending community colleges and minority-serving educational institutions to on-campus resources like advisors, financial aid, and tutors. In the last seven years, Upswing says, the company has prevented nearly 50,000 students from dropping out of school. The service, which is aimed in particular at helping non-traditional students like online and first-generation learners, also alerts schools when students exhibit behaviors that make them likely to drop out. Colleges that have used Upswing experienced a 10% to 15% increase in so-called persistence rates (the number of students who matriculate from one year to the next), the startup reports. Its backers, who have helped it raise $6.38 million, include major philanthropic organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and the United Way.

Company information

Austin, Texas
Melvin Hines Jr.
No. of employees (approximate)20
Strada Education Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Impact America Fund, ECMC Foundation, Rethink Education VC Fund
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