Edquity Acquires Student Retention Expert BridgeEdU


Edquity, the Brooklyn-based student financial success and emergency aid firm, has acquired BridgeEdU, a Baltimore company founded by leading anti-poverty advocate Wes Moore and focused on removing structural barriers to college access and completion for underserved students.

The acquisition combines Edquity's suite of college financial success technology platforms with BridgeEdU's on-the-ground expertise around the social, academic and financial obstacles to post-secondary success, deepening Edquity's comprehensive technology-based college financial support solution for at-risk students.

As part of the acquisition, Moore and former BridgeEdU Board member David Roberts will join a newly created Edquity Board of Directors. In addition to his role as BridgeEdU founder and visionary, Moore is CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, New York City's largest anti-poverty organization. Roberts has a background in specialty finance and is Head of Strategy at Angelo Gordon, an alternative investment firm with assets under management of $33 billion. Together, Moore and Roberts will raise the profile of Edquity and the opportunity gap it seeks to close, and help Edquity expand and strengthen its arsenal of innovative, student-centric solutions for college students' growing need for financial and support services as well as emergency aid.

Also, as part of the acquisition, BridgeEdU investor Strada Education Network will make a direct investment into Edquity, reinforcing its commitment to the shared mission of the two companies. Strada is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting the development of solutions to college-to-career challenges through strategic philanthropy, research and mission-aligned partnerships.

Some three million students drop out of college for financial reasons each year, and 50 percent of the nation's college students suffer from food or housing insecurity at any given time. Poverty—and the host of systemic disadvantages that come with it—is a deeply rooted barrier to college access and completion. And while approximately half of all colleges and universities offer emergency aid programs, these programs are cumbersome to manage and operate and resources do not meet demand.

"Higher education is meant to be a springboard to social mobility, but the structural financial barriers our low- and middle-income students face are instead creating just the opposite: an exacerbation of inequities in our society," says David Helene, Edquity founder and CEO. "To truly combat such entrenched inequities, we need to expand and inform our current technology solutions with the type of experience, insights and impact BridgeEdU brings—and the tireless and transformative prowess of anti-poverty warriors like Wes Moore. We're thrilled to add BridgeEdU and Wes to the Edquity family, and to leverage their knowledge and legacy to further our work. Edquity is now better positioned than ever to execute on its mission to help students overcome the structural financial obstacles in higher education that threaten social mobility and intergenerational wealth creation."

Since its founding in 2014, BridgeEdU has partnered with community colleges and non-selective institutions of higher education to support their most at-risk students with a combination of success coaching and academic and financial aid support. Yielding an average increase of 20 percent in first-year retention, the BridgeEdU program has helped students accelerate completion of developmental courses and establish sustained academic momentum. BridgeEdU's financial aid support has also helped students fully claim the funding they are eligible for, resulting in thousands of dollars in increased per-student aid.

"Potential is universal, but opportunity is not. I launched BridgeEdU with the sole purpose of upending this unacceptable reality," says Moore. "In just five years, we did that for more than 600 students—and learned invaluable lessons about the structural supports students need to combat the college persistence challenges that they face. I am excited to join Edquity and to be able to continue this legacy as a member of the Edquity board. Joining forces between Edquity and BridgeEdU will give Edquity's services more depth and BridgeEdU's work further reach, and generate more effective college supports overall for the students who need them most."

With its acquisition of BridgeEdU, Edquity will leverage BridgeEdU data, learnings and insights to enhance its technology products to support students in day-to-day cashflow management, emergency resource access and access to emergency aid.

About Edquity 

Founded in 2016 by financial services professional and equity in education champion David Helene, Edquity offers a suite of technology platforms—user-friendly apps for students and data analytics tools for institutions—that collectively provide a one-stop shop for emergency aid and college financial success. Edquity has worked with innovative higher education partners, including LaGuardia Community College and Nevada State College. And in the K-12 sphere, its partners include school districts and non-profit college access organizations such as the New York City Department of Education, District of Columbia Public Schools, IDEA Public Schools and College Possible, among others. Edquity has received more than $1.5 million in funding from innovative investment and philanthropic partners, including the Lumina Foundation, Wells Fargo, Strada Education Network, the Center for Financial Services Information (now the Financial Health Network), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and NewSchools Venture Fund. 

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