Helping to bridge the education equity gap by turning student engagement in health and sustainability behaviors into funds for school
As little as $1000 in debt can force a student to drop out of school. 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). The program it powers is called PIPs for School (P4S), which runs on the PIPs Rewards App. PIPs, which stands for “Positive Impact Points,” is the currency of good earned by users of the PIPs App for engaging in verifiable everyday actions that deliver personal, community and planetary benefit.
Deepa, a Master’s student at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, thinks it’s great to be able to help pay for her education with points earned for carbon-footprint-reducing actions.
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 health, sustainability, and community service 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.
PIPs’ value to students and their schools was most evident when the pandemic closed campuses last spring. Despite the transition to remote learning at the end of March 2020, thousands of students at two test campuses in Colorado sustained engagement in the PIPs program, completing over 500,000 beneficial actions during the 2019-20 academic year and saving the carbon equivalent of what 8,000 trees store in a year. In addition, nearly 100 students used their PIPs to unlock approximately $40,000 in scholarship grants.
PEF is launching a national P4S Scholars program, with the first Scholars to start in late June 2021. The program is implemented in partnership with local community-based youth development or environmental organizations. To be eligible, students must demonstrate financial need. While high school students can apply and be accepted into the program, to receive grants, all P4S Scholars must be enrolled at a qualifying institution of higher education – a college, community college, university, or trade school in the US.
To apply to be a P4S Scholar, students will fill out an application in which they are asked to describe what they expect to learn from participation in the program and how they will contribute to their community as a P4S Scholar. To learn more, email us to pipseducationfund.org.
Those selected will get:
- 1 12-months of secure access to a custom version of the PIPs App (complete with a selection of PIPs worthy eco-healthy earn options, contests, challenges, leaderboards and community feeds), along with an easy-to-follow Starter Kit.
- 2 Invitations to expert speakers events with professionals in the sustainability industry, networking events to get to know each other, and training events to learn new skills.
- 3 Regular PIPs Office Hours and the chance to chat informally with a member of the PIPs Team, get answers to questions about the app, how it works, ways to earn, etc.
In addition, and maybe most importantly, those selected are eligible for up to $1000 in scholarship grants which they unlock through their engagement in PIPs worthy actions tracked by the PIPs App. PIPs are awarded each time an action is completed and recorded in a user’s dashboard.
The P4S Scholar has 12 months to complete enough actions to unlock the full $1000 in scholarships, remembering that grants will only be made to students who are enrolled.
All scholarship grants are made to the school where the P4S scholar is enrolled and directed to the student’s account. Student scholarship recipients will coordinate with their Office of Financial Aid to determine the best use of the funds.
The number of scholars is limited by the availability of funds.
Multiply the Impact
Thanks to gifts from donors like you, students participating in the PIPs for School program can turn their good actions into much needed funds for school in school.
Just $1500 is enough to sponsor a P4S Scholar, 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 an implementation fee split between the local host NGO and the PIPs Team.
Of course, gifts of any size are encouraged, starting as low 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 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.