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AT&T Launches Competition to Fund Programs for Underserved High School Students

Aspire Connect to Success Competition Will Award Up to $10 million

AT&T Launches Competition to Fund Programs for Underserved High School Students

Aspire Connect to Success Competition Will Award Up to $10 million

Published 11-12-15

Submitted by AT&T Inc.

AT&T will award up to $10 million to selected organizations that focus on supporting high school students in their quest to graduate. The AT&T Aspire Connect to Success Competition, part of the company’s signature education initiative, invites organizations that are helping underserved students earn their diplomas to apply for funding beginning today.

High school graduation is a crucial step towards success for young people. Today, about one in five students do not graduate high school on time, and many of those who do graduate are underprepared for college or career. AT&T Aspire supports the GradNation goal to increase the country’s high school graduation rate to 90% by 2020, and while we are on track to meet it, there is still much work to be done. The 2015 Building a Grad Nation report identified five areas that will be central to achieving this goal. We must double down efforts to increase graduation rates for low-income, minority, and special education students, and continue driving progress in big states and large school districts.

“Young people need a high school diploma to stay on track for college and career success. And our company’s future, as well as the country’s, is dependent on today’s young people,” said Nicole Anderson, Assistant Vice President of Social Innovation at AT&T and President, AT&T Foundation. “Our Aspire funding supports programs that invest in students, especially those who need it the most, so they can walk across the graduation stage ready for the future. Each graduate brings us closer to that 90% goal and having a prepared future workforce.”

Previous AT&T Aspire competitive funding recipients are making a difference and showing firsthand the effectiveness of their programs. Their results continue to grow, but data from a select group of previous awardees show that 10th and 11th grade students who participated in these programs outperformed their matched comparison peers in on track to graduate status1 by more than 12%.

The Aspire Connect to Success Competition continues this momentum by seeking high-quality programs aiming to expand proven interventions that serve students in grades 9-12 across the United States. Funding will support program activities for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, and organizations may apply for funding in increments of $250,000, $500,000 or $1,000,000 for the two-year period. 

Full details of the competition are available now at along with the Pre-Qualification Survey, which will be open from November 9-December 4, 2015. An independent third-party evaluator will review and evaluate all organizations that complete the survey, and those proceeding to the next stage will be invited to submit a full proposal. Final selections will be made in spring of 2016.

This competition is part of AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education, AT&T Aspire, and follows a previous request for proposal in 2014 that provided nearly $12.5 million to 30 organizations to improve student success. AT&T Aspire drives innovation in education – through technology, social innovation and relationships – to provide students opportunities to develop the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.

[1] On Track Indicator (OTI) identifies students who are expected to graduate on time if they’ve earned enough credits to move to the next grade level, and have no more than one failing grade in a core course per semester.

About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2014, nearly $127 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. We’re helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices and points in between. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nation’s strongest LTE signal and the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage. We’re improving how our customers stay entertained and informed with AT&T U-verse® TV and High Speed Internet services. And businesses worldwide are serving their customers better with AT&T’s mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

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