our Story


College Beyond was founded in 2015 by Paris Woods and Sarah Payne, two college access educators working at Walter L. Cohen College Prep High School. We served 45 students in our first year, and today are proud to serve more than 250 New Orleans area college students each year.

work rooted in


Systemic inequities in income, wealth, and education have existed since our country's founding. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and recent social unrest surrounding racial injustice has cast a spotlight on the cracks in the interlocking systems of education, economics, and health.

While expanding college access has long been a priority in the work of educational equity, rates for college attainment have remained low for decades and income inequality continues to grow.

We need new strategies and new investments to change the status quo for marginalized Americans. Each year that we do not provide adequate support to students represents another cohort that will struggle to achieve upward mobility.

In New Orleans, more students than ever are applying to college — but we must build on that momentum by ensuring students have the optimal support to enter and complete college.

Higher education is evolving, but this change is not swift enough for our students. We urgently need interventions that can both serve students' immediate needs and help system leaders learn about effective strategies for change in the long run.

College Beyond is up to that challenge. We invite you to partner with us to fight educational inequity and to become part of the village that stands in the gap for promising students who are seeking a better life through higher education.

interested in collaborating or
supporting our work?

Please email contact@collegebeyond.org to connect.