top of page

Why Our Work Matters

The college attainment rate in New Jersey, while higher than the national average, exhibits stark disparities across different demographic and socioeconomic groups. For instance, urban areas like Camden, Newark, and Trenton have historically lagged, with significantly lower college attendance and graduation rates. Addressing these gaps is crucial for individual and community- level socio-economic mobility and wellbeing.

Value of College Degree

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, individuals with a college degree earn significantly more over their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. The earnings differential on average approaches $1 million. Higher educational attainment is also correlated with lower unemployment rates, better health outcomes, and increased civic engagement.

The Centrality of Basketball in the “Community”

27 million people in the US participate in recreational basketball. Of the major sports in the US, basketball has the most participants by far. In addition, it is also a sport that over-indexes within urban cities and youth across the country – and especially within New Jersey. See illustrative Camden case study. An estimated 60% of minority youth in NJ cities play basketball on a periodic basis and it the central spectator sport for youth and family in these neighborhoods.

Enrollment Rates are Down

For under resourced communities and populations, the college enrollment and completion rates are meaningfully lower than for other groups. For example, Black male enrollment rates have plummeted in recent years and have substantial implications on socioeconomic progress and our national competitiveness. In the Spring of 2021, their college enrollment rates plunged 14.5% including 21.5% at two-year colleges.

Elite Youth Basketball Players Are Ambassadors with Significant Reach

Our ambassadors are enthusiastically followed by their local communities and expanded follower
bases. They effectively serve as ambassadors and trendsetters for potentially thousands of other
youth within their reach and sphere of influence.

The Ambassador Program

New Jersey Scholars utilizes the popularity and reach of high-profile youth basketball players (ambassadors) and the sport itself to engage and inspire young students and their families, creating a culture of educational aspiration and college attainment. We intend to build out and expand this program in the coming year. New Jersey Scholars has the expertise to scale this program nationally with the right partners and resources. If you are interested in supporting or partnering, please contact us.

If you’d like more information, get in touch today.


“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.“

Ben Franklin

bottom of page