Lumina Foundation, American Council on Education, and the Ad Council Launch Unique College Access Campaign
"KnowHow2GO" Urges Students to Take the Necessary Steps to Go to College
NEW YORK, NY (January 17, 2007) / PRNewswire / The Advertising Council today joined with Lumina Foundation for Education and the American Council on Education (ACE) to launch a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to encourage low-income and first-generation students to take the steps necessary to go to college. This unified, national PSA effort combines education, community-based, and government partnerships to raise awareness among low-income students about preparing for college and what it takes to get there.
KnowHow2GO is a multi-media campaign that features television and radio PSAs, outdoor and print advertising, and an interactive website (www.KnowHow2GO.org) that delivers guiding information to students, parents/adults, and organizations.
In addition to the media components of the campaign, KnowHow2GO will utilize a network of grassroots partners, including mentoring and youth-serving organizations. They will reinforce the campaign in local communities. Several states have joined the effort and plan to localize the campaign in their regions in February. ACE will tap into the nearly 2,000 colleges and universities and higher education associations that comprise its membership to further expand the campaign's reach.
Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, students and parents can access a toll-free number (800 433-3243) to request a new brochure containing tips on preparing for college. The Department is providing fulfillment and printing costs for the student/parent brochure.
The KnowHow2GO campaign primarily targets low-income students in grades 8 to 10, and secondarily, their parents and adult influencers to encourage them to start the college preparation process early. Research conducted for the campaign showed that low-income and first-generation students have high aspirations for college, but do not have clear information on what steps they need to take. Campaign research also showed that particularly in low-income households, parents expect the student to take the lead in pursuing college.
According to research published in June 2005 in Postsecondary Education Opportunity, 75 percent of students from high-income families complete college by age 24; yet only nine percent of students from low-income families complete college by this age. KnowHow2GO strives to help more low-income students navigate their way to college.
"Our research with low-income and first-generation prospective students revealed that they have widespread enthusiasm for going to college, yet few are taking the necessary steps to prepare to get there," according to Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "We are proud to partner with Lumina Foundation and ACE to clear up the misconceptions about the process and communicate to students throughout the country that they can achieve their dream by taking the necessary steps early."
KnowHow2GO has two central campaign goals: to raise awareness about the steps needed to prepare for college and to motivate low-income, first-generation students to turn their dreams of going to college into a reality.
"This campaign is critical now because America has slipped in comparison to other countries in the proportion of young people who are earning college degrees," said Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. "Even more important, the attainment gap between income groups is widening at the same time that low-income students constitute a growing share of the college-age population. We must reach out to these low-income students, so they can earn better opportunities, and so that America will have the educated population to sustain its economic and social vitality. This campaign aims to let these students know the right steps they must take; it also provides caring adults with information they can use to help these students."
"Unfortunately, many young people believe that higher education is inaccessible to them or they assume that if they do well in school, admission to college will just magically happen," said David Ward, president of ACE. "These assumptions are misguided and we want to empower students and their families to take actions based on a better understanding of the process. One of the major themes of the campaign is for students to know it takes more than good grades and big dreams to get into college."
"There are far too many Americans who want to go to college but can't because they're either not prepared, can't afford it, or lack even the most basic knowledge about the college admissions process," said Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. "To expand access to higher education we must better prepare our students and all of us have a role to play, colleges and universities, school systems, community organizations, and government. The KnowHow2GO campaign represents a unique partnership that will leverage existing resources and programs-such as those at the Department of Education-in ways that will help prepare students early enough in the process to help them succeed."
Created pro bono by ad agency Publicis in New York, KnowHow2GO focuses on four creative messages that speak to young people directly to help them understand the steps necessary to go to college. Those steps are: "Be a Pain," "Push Yourself," "Find the Right Fit" and "Put Your Hands on Some Cash."
"What I particularly like about the work for college access is that it is iconic and simple. Sometimes messages like this can feel like a daunting homework assignment, belabored and complicated. But the simple nature of the television spot is readily understood and yet elegantly powerful," said Rob Feakins, president of Publicis New York and chief creative officer of Publicis & Publicis Dialog NY.
The Ad Council, in partnership with Russell Research, conducted research with students throughout the country in September to test the new PSAs for effectiveness. Three-fourths of the students who viewed the ads indicated that they would be "likely" to visit the website for more information, with one-third saying they "definitely" would visit it.
The campaign will run for approximately two years. The PSAs are being distributed to 28,000 media stations nationwide throughout January. New television and radio advertising, created specifically for the Hispanic community, will be available in upcoming weeks. Per the Ad Council's model, all of the new PSAs will air and run in advertising time and space that will be donated by the media.