YesU is now live on Android and iOS! How did we get here? This app wasn’t developed in a vacuum; rather, we at BridgeEdU recognized a specific, urgent need for personalized financial aid guidance, and developed YesU in response.
Let’s take a step back. What is BridgeEdU and how does it relate to YesU? BridgeEdU, founded by our CEO Wes Moore in Baltimore, has the sole mission of helping students make it to and through college. In our work with students on college campuses (more on BridgeEdU on-campus here), we noticed a gigantic barrier to college completion: the ability to pay for it.
The students we were working with, Wes describes, “were leaving grant money on the table, not completing the FAFSA process, not completing paperwork.” Financial aid is such a complicated process for so many individuals, especially students who are already up against tough family and financial circumstances. And we need these students to win. Our country will soon require more college degrees than our workforce is on track for, so we need these students to excel and earn degrees.
Our development of the YesU app is an extension of our mission at BridgeEdU. To get students to and through college, you’ve got to help them navigate financial aid and financial literacy; you’ve got to show them how to afford it. What drove us to mobile in particular was our experience working with scholars. We noticed that even low income students often had cell phones and data plans. No internet access at home, no PC, but a phone. We saw that one of the biggest structural barriers to financial aid was receiving and managing financial documents. And we learned from Prof. Ben Castleman that texting students has been proven to enhance student retention. We combined these insights to create YesU, a mobile platform to help students get their financial aid applications done right, and on time.
YesU is here to help any student looking to further their education — whether they’re Pell eligible or not, whether they’re a documented citizen or not, whether their goal is community college or a 4-year college or anything in between. By empowering students, we also hope to lighten the load on parents and counselors in the process.
Give us a little bit of your time, and we’ll make sure it’s worth it. We’ll only consider ourselves successful once every student enrolled in college is getting every dollar their financial situation merits.