Some of what we provide
- Digital Programming Developing engaging video content designed to help 13-18-year-olds explore education and career opportunities beyond high school
- Advocacy Championing policies that will help students pursue education after high school and attain credentials they will need to achieve their career objectives
- Partnerships Collaborating with national and local education institutions, policymakers, nonprofits and businesses to deliver innovative programs and services
- Research Using evidence-based models to deliver impactful services and inform students, families and the field about the evolving education and career landscape
ASA’s mission is to help students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions to achieve their education and career goals. We believe students should have access to career-connected learning, starting in middle school, so they can develop a plan for their future. ASA fulfills its mission by providing digital-first resources directly to students and support for educators and intermediaries. We are committed to helping students:
• Explore education and career options starting in middle school
• Experiment through hands-on opportunities
• Navigate a plan to meet their goals
ASA’s innovative programs and partnerships, combined with a robust research agenda and advocacy platform, enable us to provide meaningful impact to young people on a national scale.
American Student Assistance (ASA) is a private nonprofit with a mission to help students know themselves, know their options, and make informed choices to achieve their education and career goals. We sustain our mission through Innovation, Advocacy, and Investment, with net assets of over $800 million. In March 2021, ASA secured a $100 million social bond to deepen our impact in reaching and engaging students, helping them make informed decisions and achieve life goals. ASA makes available its most recent financial statements here.
We have developed the American Student Assistance (ASA) Social Bond Framework under which the organization intends to issue social bonds. Proceeds will be used to expand the scope of offerings nationwide by providing grant funding to partner organizations and funding the creation and distribution of in-person and digital programs and resources. ASA has a wide range of potential projects outlined in this framework that seek to address the goals laid out by the United Nations to ensure high quality education, economic growth and reduced inequality. The full framework can be found here.
In addition, ASA’s Social Bond Framework has been validated by Sustanalytics and received the opinion that the ASA Social Bond Framework is “credible and impactful and aligns with the four core components of the Social Bond Principles 2020.” The full Second-Party Opinion can be found here.
For more than 60 years as a national nonprofit and student loan guarantor, ASA® has helped students with college access and financing for higher education. Today, we are building on our industry-leading expertise to impact students on a broader scale starting at a younger age. Our experience has helped us identify the critical decision points in a student’s life so we can develop and provide meaningful programs and tools to help them achieve their education and career goals.
With our expanded mission, ASA remains steadfastly committed to student success. The public purpose spirit, nonprofit status, and passion for helping students instilled in our organization from the start still make up who we are and what we do. Decades ago, we pioneered an entire college access program. Today, we are once again breaking new ground in meeting the current and future needs of young people – because we’ve always believed in putting students first.
Read our blog about ASA’s History as an Advocate for Students.
ASA—known as the Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation (MHEAC)—becomes a guarantor in the federal student loan program.
ASA develops deeper relationships with the higher education community and begins to offer educational programs around early awareness and debt management for college students. The Boston College Planning Center is created at the Boston Public Library, becoming the model for college planning centers throughout the nation.
ASA continues its role as a federal student loan guarantor, but works with Congress to establish a new incentive structure for Guaranty Agencies. The model changes so that ASA is paid to ensure that borrowers stay in good standing on their debt, instead of being paid to manage collection of loans. By proactively reaching out to borrowers at risk of delinquency and default, ASA helped to avert more than $120 million of loan defaults before the program was eliminated by the Department of Education. Despite the change in incentive structure, ASA remains committed to a borrower-centric means of doing business.
ASA creates Salt® — partnering with more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide, ASA developed a financial wellness program for students and alumni. The program included an online financial education curriculum with over 400 educational activities and courses. Salt achieved 1.5 million registered users at its peak, with over 100,000 unique monthly viewers. Salt courses were measured for efficacy through pre- and post-testing, often seeing increases in knowledge and intent to change behavior between 30-70%. In addition, Salt provided comprehensive education debt management to 3 million borrowers. Through multi-channel targeted communications and a passion for helping students navigate their repayment challenges, ASA helped keep borrowers out of delinquency and default. The ASA borrower cohort default rate was consistently below the national average, while our loans in good standing represented 94% of our portfolio.
ASA announces an expanded mission to help students earlier in their education journey – starting in middle school – so they can make informed choices about education and career plans after high school. ASA remains committed to delivering significant impact to students on a broad scale.
The Problem We Are Addressing
Today’s economy demands that students graduate from high school, earn some type of degree or credential, and develop knowledge and skills they can use in a job. But far too many young people drop out of high school, fail to enroll in a higher education program, or are unable to complete their credentials. We want students to avoid the financial hardship and misalignment between education and career choices that has had a serious, negative impact on student completion.
Students need tools and information to help them make informed choices about life after high school. The path to discovery should begin as early as middle school so students can learn about all the educational and career possibilities ahead of them. We believe that career exploration at an early age can help students develop a clear plan for their future that lessens the financial burden of post-secondary education, and increases their chance of success in their careers.
We empower students to find and pursue their own education and career path, and provide them with the support and tools they need to get there. ASA approaches its mission from multiple angles—innovating products, partnering, and funding programs and services—that deliver significant impact to students on a broad scale.
Meet the experienced, diverse team leading American Student Assistance.