American Express has launched a program available to eligible U.S. Consumer Card Members, developed in partnership with Strive for College, a nonprofit that matches high school students with volunteer mentors on a virtual mentoring platform called UStrive.

The program gives U.S. Consumer Card Members a convenient way to help improve the lives of underserved youth, who often struggle to navigate the college admissions and financial aid application process. UStrive is entirely virtual, making it a great option for Card Members who want to volunteer and support their communities from the safety of their homes.

“The pandemic has prompted everyone to consider more virtual ways of giving back to our communities, and being a Strive for College mentor is both a rewarding and convenient experience,” says Doug Buckminster, Group President, Global Consumer Services for American Express. “Online mentoring is perfect for anyone looking to safely volunteer and make a meaningful difference in a young person’s life.”

The average school counselor-to-student ratio is 500 to one, making it difficult for low-income students to access one-to-one college counseling. In fact, every year, half a million students who are academically qualified but under-resourced fail to go to college, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. Strive for College has found that mentorship and guidance can unlock opportunities for underserved students, and break the chain of generational poverty; in fact, 97% of Strive-mentored students enroll in college.

UStrive enables mentors to support students from diverse ethnic and geographic backgrounds in all 50 states with training and guidance. American Express has made the Strive for College mentorship opportunity available to its employee base since 2018, and has expanded the opportunity to include U.S. Consumer Card Members as well.

“Strive is passionate about democratizing social capital to improve outcomes for those who historically struggle to enroll in college and get a job,” said Michael Carter, CEO and founder of Strive for College. “The partnership with American Express helps to scale our platform during an unprecedented time of extreme hardship for many young people.”


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