The Fugees Academy

Fugees Family College Counseling Support

The Fugees Academy schools help refugee youth grow up to become successful adults, starting by accelerating their preparedness for postsecondary opportunities. For families fleeing war-ravaged and traumatic pasts in countries where poverty is endemic and children’s education has been intermittent or entirely disrupted, the academic pathway we offer is supportive, inclusive, and an invaluable entry into English language acquisition and the economic mainstream. Among our students, many children are the first in their family to graduate from high school and attend college – or even, more often, the first to complete middle school.

Yet since the Fugees Academy graduated its first senior class in 2016, 100% of our 12th graders have graduated and 100% have entered college or started in high-value apprenticeship programs. Our student-athletes enter our program in 6th grade reading English at a Kindergarten level, and leave our program with the skills and confidence they need to achieve self-sufficiency and contribute powerfully to their new home country.

Support from the E.E. Ford Foundation enabled the Fugees Family to formalize college counseling support for our students, transitioning this aspect of our program from an ad-hoc team effort into a central and well-resourced support position for students, to provide skilled direction in the competitive arena of college admissions. As enrollment continues to increase among our higher classes as students progress each year, these services are of growing importance to ensure our students can continue their ascent into full English language attainment, employability, and the economic mainstream. 

The college counselor role worked across the two-year grant period to:

- Provide college research support and recommendations to help students advance personal and professional goals.

- Orient first-generation college applicants and their families on the requirements and expectations for the college research, visitation, application, selection and enrollment process.

- Support students to complete college applications in observance of deadlines and documentation requirements for testing, financial aid, recommendations, and more.

- Assist with critical financial aid sourcing, including FAFSA completion, College Scholarship Service (CSS) profiles, scholarship research and applications and more.

- Facilitate all aspects of enrollment and support a successful transition into postsecondary pathways.

The achievements of this position to date have been:

  • From 2017-2019, a total of 19 students graduated from the Fugees Academy; 100% were the first in their families to complete high school. Among these students, 80% enrolled in college and are actively completing degree programs including computer science, social work, sports management, business and more. The 20% not enrolled in college are pursuing high-value trade internships to become electricians, plumbers and other skilled trades.
  • For the class of 2018 (four graduates total), 30 college acceptances were received at an average of 7.5 per student. A total of $90,000 in financial aid was secured. For the class of 2019 (12 graduates total), $499,000 in financial was offered across 73 college acceptances.
  • In preparation for postsecondary pathways and to begin building their college transcripts, 100% of our juniors and seniors participate in dual-enrollment coursework at Georgia Piedmont Technical College.

We invite you to visit us at to learn more about how you can get involved in our work.