Heights Philadelphia partners with La Salle University and 11 other colleges & universities in fall 2023

December 18, 2023

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.

La Salle University

Heights Philadelphia (“Heights”) announced 12 formal partnerships with colleges and universities, including La Salle University, 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.

Gregory J. (Greg) Nayor, Ph.D.
Greg Nayor, Ph.D., La Salle University vice president of enrollment management

“La Salle University has always prided itself on its commitment to offering students an accessible, affordable, and high-quality teaching and learning experience that leads to a lifetime of success,” Greg Nayor, Ph.D., La Salle University vice president of enrollment management, said. “Our partnership with Heights is evidence of that commitment to transforming the lives of Philadelphia’s future leaders, and we could not be more excited to be a part of this partnership.” 

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 12 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, in addition to La Salle: Arcadia University, Bentley University, Bucknell University, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Juniata College, Penn State University, University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University, and Villanova University.

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.