A First-Generation College Grad Helps Others Get Their Degrees

"Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in inner-city Boston, Alexandra Bernadotte was the first person in her family to go to college. 'When the letter from Dartmouth came, we treated the moment almost as if we had won the lottery,' she says. Her parents, younger sister, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins piled into 10 cars for the trip to New Hampshire to drop her off," The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

"But she says getting into college was easier than what followed. She struggled with classes, and the university required that she take time off during her sophomore year. With the support of her family, a mentor, and fellow students — and a lot of hard work —­ Ms. Bernadotte regrouped and graduated on time.

In 2009, when she had been out of college for 17 years, Ms. Bernadotte started Beyond 12, which helps low-income, minority, and first-generation college students stay in school and earn their degrees. The group has worked with more than 7,000 students. Of those who received guidance over four years, 72 percent graduated.

Now Ms. Bernadotte’s betting that technology can fuel a dramatic expansion. Her goal: to serve one million students annually by 2025."

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Publication Date: 12/7/2017

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