Did you know that nearly half of all college students drop out over unpaid debts of as little as $1,000? Or that four out of five jobs in fast-growing fields like healthcare, STEM, education, and government services require a college degree?
Meeting the urgency of the moment, PIPs Education Fund (PEF), a New York State 501(c)(3) organization, developed a mobile platform—the PIPs Rewards App (PIPs App)—to power an innovative action-study program called PIPs for School (P4S).
Students participating in P4S programs get special access to the PIPs App. The app offers them multiple “touch points” through which personal responsibility—whether it’s biking, recycling, volunteering, or helping out in one’s home or neighborhood—is recognized and rewarded with Positive Impact Points (PIPs) that can be saved up and converted into grants for school.
Since Fall 2017, thousands of student-users of the PIPs app have taken over 1,100,000 positive actions, unlocked over $130,000 in scholarship grants, and re-enrolled at a rate 5% higher than their class as a whole. As an added benefit, many actions reduce carbon emissions, resulting in 750,000 pounds of carbon being saved.
In June 2021, PEF launched PIPs for School (P4S) Scholars, a targeted intervention utilizing the P4S action-study pathway that is exclusively for students with financial need and are either in college or a college-bound high school junior or senior.
The national program is implemented in partnership with local Host Partners, either an academic institution or a community-based organizations. Host Partners help to identify eligible students as well as school- or community-based actions for which PIPs can be earned.
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 renew 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 in their account until they are. Grants are then made directly to school, deposited in the student’s account, and available to be used for a range of expenses including laptops and software, housing and dining, books and supplies, and other school fees.
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