The Undermatching Problem

A Phenomenon Plaguing the Nation


Undermatching is a phenomenon in American higher education in which well-qualified high school students, often from less affluent households, are not matched with competitive colleges. Undermatching is generally not believed to be caused by discriminatory policies by college admissions offices but rather by a lack of applications from well-qualified high school students.


Information Gap

High-achieving, low-income students may be unaware of all financial aid opportunities available to them, and may be deterred by application fees and tuition costs.

Mismatched Potential

Only 8% of high-achieving, low-income students are “achievement typical” in their application patterns. The vast majority of high-achieving, low-income students don't apply to a selective college or university.

Higher Cost

High-achieving, low-income students who attend an undermatched college or university, on average, pay more than if he or she had attended a more competitive college or university.


Michigan Based and Focused

Extending a Helping Mitten


Catalyst for Achievement is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We were founded in the state of Michigan and operate there despite the majority of the Board of Directors being located outside the mitten state. The founders grew up in the Metro-Detroit area and have a sense of commitment to it. Although we are attempting to tackle a national issue, our focus is the State of Michigan. Our current efforts concentrate on the City of Warren, Michigan. Forbes recently ranked Warren, Michigan the 7th most miserable city in the country.