Helping to bridge the education equity gap by turning student engagement in personal, community and planetary action into funds for school
The need is great and the moment is now. Four out of five jobs in fast-growing fields like healthcare, STEM, education, and government services demand postsecondary education. Unfortunately, nearly half of all college students are forced to drop out over unpaid debts of as little as $1,000. This impacts not just the student (a cohort of entering students who drop out can lose $3.8 Billion in lifetime income) but their college or university which stand to lose an average of $13 Million annually due to attrition.
Imagine you are a college student like Kylie from Thornton, Colorado, a psychology major who loves to help others, but is struggling to keep up with the cost of her education. One day, you learn of a program that awards a “currency of good” every time you ride the bus, bike, volunteer, take a fitness class, recycle, and more.
Now, imagine there is a public charity that promises to turn the good you do into funds for school.
That charity exists; it is PIPs Education Fund (PEF). PEF owns PIPs Rewards LLC which created a behavior motivation and tracking app called the PIPs RewardsTM App.
To help bridge the gap in education equity and access, the app was adapted to power an innovative action-study program called PIPs for School (or P4S). P4S provides students a means by which to advance their education AND better the world.
By awarding scholarships and reducing barriers to success, P4S gives agency to students who maintain healthy habits and strive to be better citizens.
“I love that PIPs is helping students with financial need like me!” Kylie announced.
The PIPs Education Fund (PEF) is a New York State 501(c)(3) whose charitable purpose is to help bridge the education equity gap by turning student engagement in personal, community and planetary action into financial support for school.
PEF owns PIPs Rewards LLC which operates the PIPs mobile engagement platform (the PIPs Rewards or PIPs App). Fundamentally an action motivation and tracking platform, the App utilizes time-tested behavioral strategies – a rewards currency (Positive Impact Points or PIPs) and games – to continuously drive verifiable engagement in positive impact actions, including those that help advance progress toward the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).
As a flexible, digital platform that can go virtually anywhere, the PIPs App offers its student users a smart tool with which to stay connected and engaged and feel supported whether they are studying on campus, remote learning or a combination of both. Indeed, PIPs’ value to students and their schools has been most evident since the pandemic began. Despite the disruption to campus life, thousands of students at two Colorado schools have sustained engagement in P4S programs, taking over 300,000 positive actions and unlocking over $65,000 in scholarship grants. As an added benefit, many actions reduce carbon, resulting in 560,000 pounds of carbon being saved.
In 2021, PEF launched P4S Scholars, a targeted intervention that provides low-income students a means by which to advance their education while bettering the world. The national program is implemented in partnership with local Host Partners, community-based organizations that help to identify eligible students as well as community-based actions for which they can earn PIPs. RIVER FUND, the NYC-based anti-poverty organization, signed on as our first Host Partner, and is helping implement the program for 26 Scholars.
Students apply to be a P4S Scholar. Those selected will get:
- 1 12-months secure access to a custom version of the PIPs App which offers them multiple “touch points” through which personal responsibility—whether it’s biking, recycling, volunteering, or caring for an elderly grandparent—is recognized and rewarded.
- 2 Invitations to speakers events with local and national leaders and training events to learn new skills.
- 3 Regular PIPs Office Hours.
Scholars have 12 months to earn up to 100,000 PIPs—equal to $1,000 in grants that are paid directly to their school accounts—and can re-new for consecutive years, as long as they are enrolled in a college, university or trade school.
If a Scholar is in high school and/or not currently enrolled at a post-secondary institution, PIPs earned will be saved until they are. Grants are made directly to school, deposited in student’s account, and available to be used for a range of expenses including laptops and software, housing and dining, books and supplies, and school fees.
The number of scholars is limited by the availability of funds.
Multiply the Impact
PEF’s goal is to scale the P4S Scholars program so as to help hundreds and then thousands of students across the country every year. We invite you to help us reach our goal, confident that when you give to PEF, 100% of your gift is going to support students as they strive to meet our dual goals of achieving college success AND making a difference in the world. PEF covers overhead, so every dollar you give goes to program.
Just $1500 is enough to sponsor a P4S Scholar for a year, providing them with exclusive access to a host of trackable engagement opportunities that benefit health, community and the environment, up to $1000 in scholarship for reaching verifiable engagement thresholds and a suite of PIPs benefits and services. The other $500 is a program implementation fee split between the local host NGO and the PIPs Team.
You can make a one time donation of any size or set up monthly recurring donations of as little as $10. Use the secure payment tool below to make your donation.
I learned to bike so I could earn more PIPs for PIPs for School.
We love how PIPs not only encourages good personal and community-minded behaviors, but also helps young people stay in school, which is the key to their getting good jobs and paying it all forward as leaders in their community.
We are very concerned with keeping college affordable. We are also concerned with the financial wellness of students. When PIPs was presented to us, it aligned with our goals on many fronts.
Adding the scholarship component knits together the whole endeavor of points-for-good in the higher education sector. The agency it gives students is appealing, and it should be attractive to individual donors and foundations who want to support scholarships and the kinds of “goods” that PIPs rewards.
It’s great to be able to help pay for my education with points I earned for taking carbon-footprint-reducing actions.