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Partnership with rootEd Alliance helps to increase enrollment for rural high school students

Kilgore College, in partnership with national philanthropic organization rootEd Alliance, today announced it has achieved strong momentum in its effort to increase postsecondary opportunities for students in five rural school districts in East Texas including West Rusk, Leverett’s Chapel, Overton, Gladewater and Gilmer.

rootEd Alliance funds, trains and places dedicated college and career advisors in rural high schools to help students chart a path toward lifelong prosperity following graduation. In the last year, it expanded to 16 new schools in Texas.

“Students in rural settings have long faced unique barriers to postsecondary education and training. Research shows that not only are rural students less likely to enroll in college than their peers, but those who do enroll are less likely to finish,” said Noa Meyer, president of rootEd Alliance and partner and head of philanthropy and social impact at BDT & Company. “rootEd Alliance is dedicated to ensuring these students have the support they need to chart a path toward prosperity for themselves and their communities. We’ve seen success in our efforts to date and are thrilled to expand our reach.”

The expansion comes as the nation grapples with a decline in college enrollment.

Recent data show the U.S. now has one million fewer college students than before the start of the pandemic.

The nation’s fall 2021 freshman class was 9 percent smaller compared to pre-pandemic levels in fall 2019. The declines are especially acute for community colleges, where the majority of rural students enroll.

Since the fall 2019, as the rest of the nation has seen declines in college-going rates, schools with rootEd Alliance advisors have seen college enrollment rates increase by 7 percent. Moreover, one-quarter of college-bound students at rootEd schools said they wouldn’t be going to college at all if it weren’t for their rootEd advisor.

rootEd Alliance recently announced it is now serving about 6,200 students in 56 schools in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri and Idaho with plans for expansion in the future. It has served 12,000 students since its start.

About rootEd Alliance:

rootEd Alliance, Inc. is a collaborative effort founded by family business owners and philanthropists who recognize that all students need more than a high school diploma to succeed in today’s economy. Rural students face unique barriers to pursuing a postsecondary pathway, and rootEd aims to remove these barriers and expand opportunity by investing philanthropic capital in a transformative advising model and partnering with states to bring it to scale. The rootEd model trains and places dedicated advisors in rural high schools. This ensures students have the resources they need to chart a path beyond high school—to the military or technical school, community college or a bachelor’s degree. The rootEd model has a proven track record of success across rural communities in Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Idaho. rootEd Alliance was born out of BDT & Company’s commitment to convening and catalyzing philanthropists around big ideas that are under-resourced and overlooked, with great potential for impact. For more information, visit:

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