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Steppingstone Scholars Inc.

  • Steppingstone Scholars Inc.
  • 1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave
    Ritter Annex #459
  • Philadelphia, PA 19122
  • 215-204-5130
  • 1999

Program Description


The quality of a student's education and their chances at bettering their life circumstances should not be defined by their socioeconomic status or zip code. Every child who is academically motivated will be prepared for college degree attainment and career success.


Steppingstone Scholars, Inc. is dedicated to helping low-income and educationally under-served students in greater Philadelphia achieve academic success. Students with the potential to succeed and a community of support are prepared for admission to the best public, private, and independent college preparatory schools through a program of academics, mentoring, and support. Steppingstone Scholars works with families, students, and partner schools to create opportunities that lead to college degree attainment, social mobility, and leadership in society.


Steppingstone Scholars, Inc. currently serves 299 children through the Steppingstone Scholars Program. The program selects motivated fourth graders in Philadelphia and prepares them to enter and succeed at top college preparatory schools, with the goal of ultimately enrolling at a competitive four-year college. It is an out-of-school time, tuition-free, academic program comprised of two components: a rigorous Academic Preparation Program and a comprehensive Support Services Program.

14-Month Program: 5th and 6th Grades

The academic component spans 14-months starting with a six-week summer session, during which Scholars attend classes five days a week, studying math, Prima Linga, lab science, social studies, test-prep, and study skills. The program continues with classes on Saturdays during the academic school year and continues with a second six-week summer session that builds upon the foundation of the first summer.

Placement Services: Navigating School Choice

Upon completing the academic component of the Steppingstone Scholars Program, scholars will have received approximately 90 additional days of instruction. During this time, Steppingstone works with scholars on all aspects of placement for their new school, from determining the type of school most appropriate for each student to preparing application materials, applying for financial aid and interviewing with admissions and enrollment directors.

StepItUp!: 7th - 10th Grades

Steppingstone also provides an intensive five-week summer enrichment program, StepItUp!, for grades 7-10 to help mitigate summer learning loss. In addition, Steppingstone helps Scholars find summer opportunities including internships, academic and non-academic programs and summer employment.

Support Services Program: 5th Grade to College

In alignment with our summer and weekend academic enrichment we offer support throughout our students' middle and high school years. Our Support Services Program works to ensure scholars succeed in their new schools, ultimately graduating from high school and enrolling in a college or university of their choice. We also have increased Family Support Programming in areas of financial literacy, financial aid and other topics; and we now track alumni to address and track college persistence.

College and Career Support

Currently, scholars have access to individual and group counseling and college preparation services, including SAT/ACT prep classes, local and out-of-state college tours and help with financial aid applications. Rising juniors and seniors can participate in a three week college seminar course. As of 2012, Steppingstone is increasing our reach to support scholars through college and assist with career choice or internships and networking.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • College transition and retention support
  • Community service/service hours
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Parent/family services
  • SAT/ACT and other test preparation
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants


Race & Ethnicity

  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 9%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 5%
  • African American: 79%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 148
  • Middle School: 111
  • Elementary School: 42
  • Post-secondary: 120
  • Non-traditional: 12

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • Academically High-performing
  • Undocumented Students (52)


  • Between 50% and 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Albright College
  • Allegheny College
  • American University (2)
  • Barnard College
  • Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Chestnut Hill College
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  • Community College of Philadelphia (5)
  • Delaware State University
  • DeSales University
  • Drexel University (3)
  • Eckerd College
  • Elizabethtown College (1)
  • Emory University
  • Florida Southern College
  • Franklin and Marshall College (4)
  • George Washington University
  • Hampton University
  • Harcum College
  • Howard University (3)
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • La Salle University (2)
  • Lincoln University
  • Lock Haven University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Morgan State University
  • Neumann University
  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus (4)
  • Princeton University
  • Rosemont College
  • Seton Hill University
  • Spelman College
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Temple University (10)
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • Trinity College (1)
  • Tufts University
  • University of Miami
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania (5)
  • University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus (3)
  • Villanova University (3)
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania (6)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 97%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 70%