Upswing’s CEO Helping Thousands of Students Overcome Obstacles to College Graduation

Industry: Education

Education Software Firm Helping More Than 75 Colleges and Universities Boost Student Success

AUSTIN, Texas (PRUnderground) April 25th, 2019

WATCH: Ed software firm Upswing helps more than 75 colleges and universities boost students’ success

Upswing’s CEO, Melvin Hines, Jr., works tirelessly to make learning accessible, flexible and tailored to students and relevant to the way they live and work.

Hines’ education startup, Upswing, that he co-founded with Alex Pritchett and Chris Webb uses technology to provide academic support to help more college students graduate.

Upswing is partnering with more than 75 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and empowering more than 700,000 students to excel academically.

The company’s specific focus is on serving non-traditional and diverse populations, especially in rural communities, and works with more than 10 percent of the 107 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“Online and non-traditional students include someone who might be first generation, who’s going to college after working for 10 or 15 years, taking care of a family, or working at the same time. We think about what their educational experience is going to be like and focus on improving the circumstances of students who face obstacles in life,” says Hines.

Non-traditional Students the New Norm

Surveys show that non-traditional students are the new norm.

Most college students have jobs, and 46 percent are the first generation in their family to go to college, 37 percent are age 25 or older, and 42 percent are people of color.

These are today’s students, and under Hines,’ Webb’s and Pritchett’s leadership, Upswing is helping to connect these students with success.

Hines and his staff at Upswing know that unlike traditional students that are on campus with direct access to college resources every day, non-traditional students are left on their own.

“Non-traditional students don’t have the same access points, and we believe this is the single biggest reason so many of these students are dropping out of school,” says Hines.

Hines says twice as many online and non-traditional students drop out as on-campus students.

Upswing Levels the Playing Field

Hines, Webb, and Pritchett developed innovative software to level the playing field and bridge the gap for today’s non-traditional students that provides a 24/7 academic support platform to reach, relate to and retain students.

“Traditional methods are not effective for non-traditional students. The key to reaching non-traditional students is by expanding the ways colleges engage and support all students,” says Hines. “We made using Upswing as easy as possible, so students have nothing to download or install, and they can do it from their mobile devices.”

Giving Tutoring a Digital Upgrade

Upswing provides a virtual assistant named ANA that texts students to remind them of upcoming tests or other deadlines. ANA schedules tutors or advisors as needed and answers the student’s questions.

“The benefits of using ANA is that it can respond automatically, so it doesn’t matter when a student asks a question. ANA reaches them where they are,” says Hines.

Upswing also provides a student engagement platform connecting students to the campus so students can log in from anywhere and schedule an online meeting with an advisor, tutor, counselor or professor.

“Each time a student logs in they see people from their campus and see the tutor they would see if they walked on campus. Or they see the professor they would see during normal office hours, and they’ll be able to connect with them,” says Hines.

Also, students can upload an assignment for a tutor to review and respond to later.

“The idea is that a student never feels like they’re alone and they always have someone there watching out for them.”

Georgia Native Making a Difference

Growing up in Albany, Georgia, Hines has never forgotten the attrition that stranded so many young people without the most fundamental boost into adult life – education. Now with Upswing, Hines has helped prevent more than 20,000 students from dropping out of college.

Together with Pritchett and Webb, and his loyal team, Upswing embarked with a big, ambitious goal of preventing 50,000 students from dropping out of college by the year 2020.

Dubbed the ‘Upswing 2020 Vision. Hines and his team focus every day on reducing the equality gap among college students.

The result is uplifting more students, preparing them for the workforce and helping the nation’s economy.

Colleges and universities are jumping onboard to partner with Upswing and recent grant funding from world-class organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Rethink Education, and the United Way contributes to Upswing achieving its goal.

“What we can do is impact society, impact future lives and careers and that in itself is going to motivate you to keep moving forward and trying to find a way to sustain and to impact more campuses and connect more students with success,” adds Hines.

Learn how Upswing can enhance your college’s student services at https://upswing.io/demo/

Use the ROI Calculator to see how much Upswing can save your school at https://upswing.io/roi-calculator/

About Upswing

Upswing is an Austin, Texas-based educational technology startup removing the barriers to degree equality. Learn more about Upswing at https://upswing.io/

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Renee Hewitt
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