Andrew Balson P ’15, ’15, ’21, ’21

After a long career in business, I decided to devote my next chapter to serving others. Specifically, I have become the CEO of a start up college service organization we call Match Beyond. Today low-income students who matriculate into 2- and 4-year colleges graduate at appallingly low rates—between 20% and 30%. I know of no other enterprise that could serve its customers so badly and still persist, raise prices, and grow. We have a design that we believe will address this problem and enable our students—over 80% of whom have already dropped out of a traditional college and 90% of whom qualify for the federal Pell Grant for low-income students—to graduate at a rate of 75%. While officially launched only a year ago, we have very promising early signs and hope to build an entity that can make a real contribution in the higher education landscape.
Why did I decide to take on this project? I believe strongly in the power of the American Dream and that we must have a country in which every young person, regardless of his or her background, has a fair chance to succeed. Today, unfortunately, I don't believe that our country really offers that chance. I have seen too many talented young people derailed by factors outside their control—ineffective public schools and colleges that are too expensive, among others. I hope to help remedy this.
Match Beyond uses the power of the Internet for low-cost college content. We then spend the money saved to provide a more affordable, more supportive, more flexible college experience for low-income young adults. Our hope is that this re-allocation of resources proves effective. If it is, we then hope to scale the model to create a competitive dynamic that leads to improved educational prospects for all students. Early signs suggest this could work, but we have much to do.
That brings me to the second reason I am doing this work. It is really fun. I work with great people. We get to make a meaningful difference in many lives. And, we get to dream that someday, we will reach many more young people and change our country for the better. What could be better than that?