Founded by Malcolm and Tamara Robinson in 2004 and incorporated as a New Jersey non-profit in 2006, as a conduit to add to the number of college graduates from the communities served. The standards are high but the statistics prove beyond question the program is working!
NJAE offers academic and monetary support to high school graduates entering a four year college or university. Because we firmly believe “Education is Key,” we work to minimize the challenge of college affordability, changing dreams to realities. While we cannot entirely eliminate the financial challenges faced by students, our scholarships lessen the stress.
Yes, we alleviate some of the financial concerns of students entering college. But – the REAL work is in helping those same students finish college, successfully completing a rigorous curriculum with a grade point average that makes them sought-after for graduate programs and/or employment opportunities in the competitive marketplace.
The proof that our program works:
The program retention rates have increased every year and with average retention rate of better than 75% and 100% of these students graduate. Twenty percent of students leaving the program go on to graduate as well. These numbers add to the overall increase in numbers of college graduates from households where income is at or below the poverty level! Our mentoring program supports their spirit. That’s the NJAE difference.
How We Got Started…people were TALKING! … Talking about a current trend of low college enrollment among low income young people … Talking about the lack of funds and a lack of college preparedness… The reasons were varied but a lack of money and a lack of college preparedness overshadowed other factors. Talking led to a call to action and the eventual formation of NJAE by Tamara and Malcolm.
Our mission is to help students from low to moderate income families realize their goal of a college degree.
-Robin Rhodes, President NJAE
A Brief History
2003 – Focusing on general educational opportunities using school report card data, census data, and labor statistics data for reference, a casual conversation among friends became an idea that soared. They found school report cards showed a higher percentage of students attending a two year college or not going to college at all than those pursuing a four year degree in concentrated areas of Essex County. The data also indicated that these townships had a high percentage of households with incomes at or marginally above the poverty level. Labor statistics data showed a higher number of blue collar workers.
From this, a volunteer committee planned and hosted the first in a series of scholarship fundraising events with a goal of raising enough money to award at least 10 scholarships. Partnering with the United Negro College Fund, that event raised enough to award scholarship money to 11 deserving students.
2004 – The North Jersey Advocates for Education was formed and officially staffed.
2005 – Determining that this would be a full commitment by many, the next year North Jersey Advocates for Education became New Jersey Advocates for Education.